Feeding and Development of the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis, on Australian Native Plant Species and Implications for Australian Biosecurity
In any insect invasion the presence or absence of suitable food and oviposition hosts in the invaded range is a key factor determining establishment success. The glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis, is an important insect vector of the xylem-limited bacterial plant pathogen, Xylella fastidiosa, which causes disease in numerous host plants including food and feedstock crops, ornamentals and weeds. Both the pathogen and the vector are native to the Americas and are considered to be highly invasive. Neither has been detected in Australia. Twelve Australian native plant species present in the USA were observed over two years for suitability as H. vitripennis feeding, oviposition and nymph development hosts. Hosts providing evidence of adult or nymph presence were Leptospermum laevigatum, Acacia cowleana, Eremophila divaricata, Eucalyptus wandoo, Hakea laurina, Melaleuca laterita and Swainsona galegifolia. An oviposition-suitability field study was conducted with citrus, a favoured oviposition host, as a positive control. Citrus and L. laevigatum, A. cowleana, B. ericifoliaxB. spinulosa, C. pulchella, E. divaricata, E. wandoo, H. laurina, and S. galegifolia were found to be oviposition hosts. Egg parasitism by the mymarid parasitoid Gonatocerus ashmeadi was observed on all Australian plants. A number of Australian plants that may facilitate H. vitripennis invasion have been identified and categorised as 'high risk' due to their ability to support all three life stages (egg, nymph and adult) of the insect in the field (L. laevigatum, A. cowleana, E. divaricata, H. laurina, and S. galegifolia). The implications of these host status and natural enemy research findings are discussed and placed in an Australian invasion context.