Feasibility of tracking within-field movements of Homalodisca coagulata (Hemiptera : Cicadellidae) and estimating its densities using fluorescent dusts in mark-release-recapture experiments
A mark-release-recapture technique was developed and tested for use in tracking the field movements of adult glassy-winged sharpshooters, Homalodisca coagulata (Say) (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), in various agricultural and urban plantings. Greenhouse experiments in which adult H. coagulata were marked with one of five colored fluorescent dusts (Aurora Pink-All, Horizon Blue-A19, Blaze Orange-A15N, Saturn Yellow-A17, and Corona Magenta-A21) and released into cages with citrus seedlings showed that their mortality rates during a 30-d period were statistically similar to that of the undusted controls. Adults marked with a sixth dust color (Signal Green-A18N) suffered higher rates of mortality than did the undusted controls and thus were eliminated from further consideration. Adult H. coagulata marked with one of the five accepted colors of fluorescent dust were able to fly beyond 100 m in a field devoid of vegetation within minutes of their release, and the marking did not affect overall flight behavior significantly compared with that of the undusted controls. However, at wind speeds above 5 m/s, percentage recapture was significantly reduced, which indicates that both dusted and undusted adults were unable to orient their flight. In total, 41,124 marked and unmarked adults were released in the three field experiments in southern California (Riverside and Kern counties) during 2000 and 2001 to evaluate flight dispersal and estimate densities of H. coagulata. The mark-release-recapture and feral data obtained during the June, July, and August 2001 studies, when coupled with the Lincoln index, yielded estimates of adult H. coagulata of 1.2 and 2.2 million per ha, respectively, at a San Joaquin Valley (Kern Co.) and a southern California (Riverside Co.) citrus grove. The use of colored dusts to mark H. coagulata proved to be reliable, cost-effective, and time-efficient for mark-release-recapture studies with this insect within a citrus grove, but they are less likely to be useful for studies of adult H. coagulata movements among plantings.