Characterization of electrical penetration graphs of Bucephalogonia xanthophis, a vector of Xylella fastidiosa in citrus

Text - scientific article/review article


The sharpshooter Bucephalogonia xanthophis (Berg) (Homoptera: Cicadellidae) is a vector of the xylem-limited bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa (Wells, Raju, Hung, Weisburg, Mandelco-Paul, and Brenner), which causes citrus variegated chlorosis. Despite the importance of citrus variegated chlorosis, the probing behavior of vectors on citrus and its implications for transmission of X. fastidiosa have not been studied. Here we studied electrical penetration graph (EPG-DC system) waveforms produced by B. xanthophis on Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck (Rutaceae), and their relationships with stylet activities and xylem ingestion. Electrical penetration graph waveforms were described based on amplitude, frequency, voltage level, and electrical origin of the observed traces during stylet penetration on plant tissues. The main waveforms were correlated with histological observations of salivary sheaths in plant tissues and excretion analysis, in order to determine stylet activities and their precise position. Six waveforms and associated activities are described: (S) secretion of salivary sheath and intracellular stylet pathway, (R) resting during stylet pathway, (Xc) contact of stylets with xylem vessels, (Xi) active xylem ingestion, (N) interruption within the xylem phase (during Xc or Xi), and (W) withdrawal of stylet from the plant. The sharpshooter spent 91.8% of its probing time with its stylet in the xylem, where the main activity was ingestion (Xi: 97.5%). During a probe, the most likely sequence of events is secretion of salivary sheath and pathway (S) through epidermal and parenchyma cells (all individuals), followed by contact with xylem (Xc) (67.6% of all individuals) and ingestion (Xi) (88.3% of those that exhibit waveform Xc). The mean time to contact the xylem (Xc) and initiate ingestion (Xi) after onset of the first probe was 27.8 and 34.2 min, respectively. However, sustained xylem ingestion (Xi > 5 min) was established after 39.8 min, on average. This information is basic for future studies on the transmission mechanisms of X. fastidiosa and in order to establish control strategies aimed at interfering with this process.


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  • Xylella fastidiosa