Seasonal population dynamics of Draeculacephala minerva (Hemiptera : Cicadellidae) and transmission of Xylella fastidiosa
The grass sharpshooter, Draeculacephala minerva Ball (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), is a very common and often abundant grass-feeding leafhopper in California. Its population dynamics and ability to transmit Xylella fastidiosa were monitored over a 2-yr period in California's San Joaquin Valley. Collections Of individuals from natural populations in irrigated pastures and alfalfa, Medicago savita L. fields adjacent to X. fastidiosa-infected almond (Prunus spp.) orchards indicated the occurrence of three discrete generations per year that peaked during the summer. Population densities varied significantly among experimental field survey sites. Insects captured on intercepting mesh traps, yellow sticky cards, and UV-light traps indicated local movement of these insects into and surrounding X. fastidiosa-infected, almond Orchards. Local movement and seasonal transmission of X. fastidiosa from infected almonds to Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don indicated that this insect may be partly responsible for the slow spread of almond leaf scorch now recently observed in California's San Joaquin Valley.