Spittlebugs (Hemiptera: Aphrophoridae) are the dominant xylem-sap feeders in the Mediterranean area and the only proven vectors of Xylella fastidiosa ST53, the causal agent of the olive dieback epidemic in Apulia, Italy. We have investigated the structured population phenology, abundance and seasonal movement between crops and wild plant species of both the nymphal and adult stages of different spittlebug species in olive groves. Field surveys were conducted during the 2016–2018 period in four olive orchards located in coastal and inland areas in the Apulia and Liguria regions in Italy. The nymphal population in the herbaceous cover was estimated using quadrat samplings. Adults were collected through sweep nets on three different vegetational components: herbaceous cover, olive canopy and wild woody plants. Philaenus spumarius was the most abundant species; its nymphs were collected from early March and reached a peak around mid-April, when the 4th instar was prevalent. Spittlebug adults were collected from late April until late autumn. P. spumarius adults were abundant on the herbaceous cover and olive trees in late spring, and they then dispersed to wild woody hosts during the summer and returned to the olive groves in autumn when searching for oviposition sites in the herbaceous cover. A relatively high abundance of P. spumarius was observed on olive trees during summer in the Liguria Region. The present work provides a large amount of data on the life cycle of spittlebugs within an olive agroecosystem that can be used to design effective control programmes against these vectors in infected areas and to assess the risk of the establishment and spread of X. fastidiosa to Xylella-free areas.

Phenology, seasonal abundance and stage-structure of spittlebug (Hemiptera: Aphrophoridae) populations in olive groves in Italy

Porcelli Francesco;
2019

Abstract

Spittlebugs (Hemiptera: Aphrophoridae) are the dominant xylem-sap feeders in the Mediterranean area and the only proven vectors of Xylella fastidiosa ST53, the causal agent of the olive dieback epidemic in Apulia, Italy. We have investigated the structured population phenology, abundance and seasonal movement between crops and wild plant species of both the nymphal and adult stages of different spittlebug species in olive groves. Field surveys were conducted during the 2016–2018 period in four olive orchards located in coastal and inland areas in the Apulia and Liguria regions in Italy. The nymphal population in the herbaceous cover was estimated using quadrat samplings. Adults were collected through sweep nets on three different vegetational components: herbaceous cover, olive canopy and wild woody plants. Philaenus spumarius was the most abundant species; its nymphs were collected from early March and reached a peak around mid-April, when the 4th instar was prevalent. Spittlebug adults were collected from late April until late autumn. P. spumarius adults were abundant on the herbaceous cover and olive trees in late spring, and they then dispersed to wild woody hosts during the summer and returned to the olive groves in autumn when searching for oviposition sites in the herbaceous cover. A relatively high abundance of P. spumarius was observed on olive trees during summer in the Liguria Region. The present work provides a large amount of data on the life cycle of spittlebugs within an olive agroecosystem that can be used to design effective control programmes against these vectors in infected areas and to assess the risk of the establishment and spread of X. fastidiosa to Xylella-free areas.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/255124
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