Correlation of stylet activities by the glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca coagulata (Say), with electrical penetration graph (EPG) waveforms

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Glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca coagulata (Say), is an efficient vector of Xylella fastidiosa (X integral), the causal bacterium of Pierce's disease, and leaf scorch in almond and oleander. Acquisition and inoculation of X integral occur sometime during the process of stylet penetration into the plant. That process is most rigorously studied via electrical penetration graph (EPG) monitoring of insect feeding. This study provides part of the crucial biological meanings that define the waveforms of each new insect species recorded by EPG. By synchronizing AC EPG waveforms with high-magnification video of H. coagulata stylet penetration in artifical diet, we correlated stylet activities with three previously described EPG pathway waveforms, A1, B1 and B2, as well as one ingestion waveform, C. Waveform A1 occured at the beginning of stylet penetration. This waveform was correlated with salivary sheath trunk formation, repetitive stylet movements involving retraction of both maxillary stylets and one mandibular stylet, extension of the stylet fascicle, and the fluttering-like movements of the maxillary stylet tips. Waveform B1 was ubitquious, interspersed throughout the other waveforms. B1 sub-type B1w was correlated with salivation followed by maxillary tip fluttering. This tip fluttering also occurred before and during B1 sub-type B1s, but was not directly correlated with either the occurrence or frequency of this waveform. Waveform B2 was correlated with sawing-like maxillary stylet movements, which usually occurred during salivary sheath branching. Waveform C was correlated with ingestion. Fluid outflow was also observed as a mechanism to clear the maxillary tips from debris during waveform C. This detailed understanding of stylet penetration behaviors of H. coagulata is an important step toward identifying the instant of bacterial inoculation which, in turn, will be applied to studies of disease epidemiology and development of host plant resistance. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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  • Xylella fastidiosa