Open AccessReview
Ecosystem-Based Incorporation of Nectar-Producing Plants for Stink Bug Parasitoids
Insects 2017, 8(3), 65; doi:10.3390/insects8030065 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Adult parasitoids of pest insects rely on floral resources for survival and reproduction, but can be food-deprived in intensively managed agricultural systems lacking these resources. Stink bugs are serious pests for crops in southwest Georgia. Provisioning nectar-producing plants for parasitoids of stink bugs
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Adult parasitoids of pest insects rely on floral resources for survival and reproduction, but can be food-deprived in intensively managed agricultural systems lacking these resources. Stink bugs are serious pests for crops in southwest Georgia. Provisioning nectar-producing plants for parasitoids of stink bugs potentially can enhance biocontrol of these pests. Knowledge of spatial and temporal availability and distribution of stink bugs in host plants is necessary for appropriate timing and placement of flowering plants in agroecosystems. Stink bugs move between closely associated host plants throughout the growing season in response to deteriorating suitability of their host plants. In peanut-cotton farmscapes, stink bugs develop in peanut, and subsequently the adults disperse into adjacent cotton. Parasitism of Nezara viridula (L.) adults by Trichopoda pennipes (F.) at the peanut-cotton interface was significantly higher in cotton with a strip of milkweed or buckwheat between the two crops than in cotton alone. Milkweed and buckwheat also provided nectar to a wide range of insect pollinators. Monarch butterflies fed on milkweed. When placed between peanut and cotton, a strip of soybean was an effective trap crop for cotton, reducing economic damage. Incorporation of buckwheat near soybean enhanced parasitism of Euschistus servus (Say) eggs by Telenomus podisi Ashmead in cotton. In conclusion, nectar provision enhances biocontrol of stink bugs, acts together with other management tactics for stink bug control, and aids in conservation of natural enemies, insect pollinators, and the monarch butterfly. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Monitoring Effect of Fire on Ant Assemblages in Brazilian Rupestrian Grasslands: Contrasting Effects on Ground and Arboreal Fauna
Insects 2017, 8(3), 64; doi:10.3390/insects8030064 -
Abstract
Fire is one of the most relevant ecological disturbances in nature. Little is known about the effects of fire on biodiversity in ecosystems like rupestrian grasslands, which share characteristics with savanna and forest biomes. Brazilian rupestrian grasslands are part of an endangered ecosystem
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Fire is one of the most relevant ecological disturbances in nature. Little is known about the effects of fire on biodiversity in ecosystems like rupestrian grasslands, which share characteristics with savanna and forest biomes. Brazilian rupestrian grasslands are part of an endangered ecosystem that has been modified by anthropogenic fire events that have become more intense in recent decades. In this study, we evaluated the effects of fire on ground and arboreal ant assemblages through a two-year monitoring program (24 monthly samplings). We found that fire does not change cumulative species richness after 24 months, and that fire does not affect mean ant richness, abundance, and species composition in arboreal ants. On the other hand, fire increased mean ground ant species richness and abundance, and caused a significant change in species composition. Our results indicate a weak and beneficial effect of fire only for ground ant communities, which generally agrees with results from other studies in Brazilian savannas. Taken together, results from these studies may be useful for improvement of fire suppression policy in fire-prone habitats in Brazil. Full article
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Open AccessTechnical Note
Isolation and Characterization of Microsatellite Loci for Cotesia plutellae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)
Insects 2017, 8(2), 63; doi:10.3390/insects8020063 -
Abstract
Fourteen polymorphic microsatellite loci were isolated in this transcriptome-based data analysis for Cotesia plutellae, which is an important larval parasitoid of the worldwide pest Plutella xylostella. A subsequent test was performed for a wild C. plutellae population (N = 32)
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Fourteen polymorphic microsatellite loci were isolated in this transcriptome-based data analysis for Cotesia plutellae, which is an important larval parasitoid of the worldwide pest Plutella xylostella. A subsequent test was performed for a wild C. plutellae population (N = 32) from Fuzhou, Fujian, southeastern China, to verify the effectiveness of the 14 microsatellite loci in future studies on C. plutellae genetic diversity. The observed number of alleles ranged from two to six. The expected and observed heterozygosity ranged from 0.123 to 0.316 and from 0.141 to 0.281, respectively. The polymorphism information content (PIC) value ranged from 0.272 to 0.622. Potentially due to the substructure of the sampled population, three of the 14 microsatellite loci deviated from Hardy—Weinberg equilibrium (HWE). Further, loci C6, C22, and C31 could be amplified in Cocobius fulvus and Encarsia japonica, suggesting the transferability of these three polymorphic loci to other species of Hymenoptera. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
β-Cyanoalanine Synthases and Their Possible Role in Pierid Host Plant Adaptation
Insects 2017, 8(2), 62; doi:10.3390/insects8020062 -
Abstract
Cyanide is generated in larvae of the glucosinolate-specialist Pieris rapae (Lepidoptera:Pieridae) upon ingestion of plant material containing phenylalanine-derived glucosinolates as chemical defenses. As these glucosinolates were widespread within ancient Brassicales, the ability to detoxify cyanide may therefore have been essential for the host
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Cyanide is generated in larvae of the glucosinolate-specialist Pieris rapae (Lepidoptera:Pieridae) upon ingestion of plant material containing phenylalanine-derived glucosinolates as chemical defenses. As these glucosinolates were widespread within ancient Brassicales, the ability to detoxify cyanide may therefore have been essential for the host plant shift of Pierid species from Fabales to Brassicales species giving rise to the Pierinae subfamily. Previous research identified β-cyanoalanine and thiocyanate as products of cyanide detoxification in P. rapae larvae as well as three cDNAs encoding the β-cyanoalanine synthases PrBSAS1-PrBSAS3. Here, we analyzed a total of eight species of four lepidopteran families to test if their cyanide detoxification capacity correlates with their feeding specialization. We detected β-cyanoalanine synthase activity in gut protein extracts of all six species tested, which included Pierid species with glucosinolate-containing host plants, Pierids with other hosts, and other Lepidoptera with varying food specialization. Rhodanese activity was only scarcely detectable with the highest levels appearing in the two glucosinolate-feeding Pierids. We then amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) 14 cDNAs encoding β-cyanoalanine synthases from seven species. Enzyme characterization and phylogenetic analysis indicated that lepidopterans are generally equipped with one PrBSAS2 homolog with high affinity for cyanide. A second β-cyanoalanine synthase which grouped with PrBSAS3 was restricted to Pierid species, while a third variant (i.e., homologs of PrBSAS1), was only present in members of the Pierinae subfamily. These results are in agreement with the hypothesis that the host shift to Brassicales was associated with the requirement for a specialized cyanide detoxification machinery. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Allogrooming, Self-Grooming, and Touching Behavior: Contamination Routes of Leaf-Cutting Ant Workers Using a Fat-Soluble Tracer Dye
Insects 2017, 8(2), 59; doi:10.3390/insects8020059 -
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine whether worker self-grooming, allogrooming, and direct contact promotes the dispersal of substances among members of the colony. For this purpose, a tracer (Sudan III dye) was applied topically to a worker ant and the social
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The aim of this study was to determine whether worker self-grooming, allogrooming, and direct contact promotes the dispersal of substances among members of the colony. For this purpose, a tracer (Sudan III dye) was applied topically to a worker ant and the social interactions between the worker with the tracer and workers without the tracer were studied. Additionally, the worker heads were dissected to visualize whether or not the post-pharyngeal gland was stained. The post-pharyngeal glands from 50% to 70% of workers were stained depending on the size of the group. With the increase in the experimental group size, the frequency of interactions between workers increased, with touching being the most frequent behavior. The tracer dye was probably passed on by direct contact between workers, followed by self-grooming and allogrooming. These behaviors are responsible for the rapid dispersal of substances among colony members as observed in our experiment. The results therefore support the hypothesis that contact with substances promotes the contamination of nestmates, even in the absence of feeding, serving as a model for further studies on the contamination of workers with the active ingredients of insecticides. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Floral Volatiles from Vigna unguiculata Are Olfactory and Gustatory Stimulants for Oviposition by the Bean Pod Borer Moth Maruca vitrata
Insects 2017, 8(2), 60; doi:10.3390/insects8020060 -
Abstract
Abstract: We investigated the role of floral odors from cowpea, Vigna unguiculata (L.), in mediating oviposition of the bean pod borer moth, Maruca vitrata, a serious pest of grain legumes that flies to host plants at the flowering stage and oviposits
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Abstract: We investigated the role of floral odors from cowpea, Vigna unguiculata (L.), in mediating oviposition of the bean pod borer moth, Maruca vitrata, a serious pest of grain legumes that flies to host plants at the flowering stage and oviposits onto flowers and buds. The flower of the host plant V. unguiculata was a stimulus for egg-laying by M. vitrata in an oviposition bioassay. Commercial longifolene, β-caryophyllene, linalool, geraniol, and (Z)-3-hexenyl acetate were used as stimulus. Each one elicited dose-dependent electroantennogram responses in female M. vitrata, and all but longifolene stimulated oviposition, when presented singly. Beta-caryophyllene was the most active stimulant, similar to that of the flower of V. unguiculata, and eliciting a dose-dependent oviposition response. Either olfaction or gustation was sufficient to mediate an oviposition response to V. unguiculata floral volatiles: intact M. vitrata responded to β-caryophyllene whether or not they could contact the source of the volatiles, and females with amputated antennae responded if allowed to contact the source. We believe this is the first demonstration in a moth where β-caryophyllene from the host plant was able to mediate an oviposition response. As β-caryophyllene is widely expressed by non-host plants, we suggest that its role in stimulating oviposition could be exploited as part of a push–pull strategy for pest management in which β-caryophyllene-expressing non-host plants provide a population sink for M. vitrata. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Biology and Control of the Greater Wax Moth, Galleria mellonella
Insects 2017, 8(2), 61; doi:10.3390/insects8020061 -
Abstract
The greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella Linnaeus, is a ubiquitous pest of the honeybee, Apis mellifera Linnaeus, and Apis cerana Fabricius. The greater wax moth larvae burrow into the edge of unsealed cells with pollen, bee brood, and honey through to
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The greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella Linnaeus, is a ubiquitous pest of the honeybee, Apis mellifera Linnaeus, and Apis cerana Fabricius. The greater wax moth larvae burrow into the edge of unsealed cells with pollen, bee brood, and honey through to the midrib of honeybee comb. Burrowing larvae leave behind masses of webs which causes galleriasis and later absconding of colonies. The damage caused by G. mellonella larvae is severe in tropical and sub-tropical regions, and is believed to be one of the contributing factors to the decline in both feral and wild honeybee populations. Previously, the pest was considered a nuisance in honeybee colonies, therefore, most studies have focused on the pest as a model for in vivo studies of toxicology and pathogenicity. It is currently widespread, especially in Africa, and the potential of transmitting honeybee viruses has raised legitimate concern, thus, there is need for more studies to find sustainable integrated management strategies. However, our knowledge of this pest is limited. This review provides an overview of the current knowledge on the biology, distribution, economic damage, and management options. In addition, we provide prospects that need consideration for better understanding and management of the pest. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Termite Species Distribution and Flight Periods on Oahu, Hawaii
Insects 2017, 8(2), 58; doi:10.3390/insects8020058 -
Abstract
Termites are economically-important structural pests, costing residents of Hawaii over $100 million annually. On Oahu, the last published termite swarming survey occurred from 1969 to 1971, and the last termite hand-collection survey occurred from 1998 to 2000. To contribute data on termite occurrences
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Termites are economically-important structural pests, costing residents of Hawaii over $100 million annually. On Oahu, the last published termite swarming survey occurred from 1969 to 1971, and the last termite hand-collection survey occurred from 1998 to 2000. To contribute data on termite occurrences on Oahu, a light-trap survey took place from February 2011 to September 2012, and a hand-collection survey occurred from September to November 2012. Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, swarming was compared over the duration of the study, finding peak swarming in May 2011. C. formosanus alate activity density was regressed with environmental factors, finding a negative correlation with average wind speed and a positive correlation with average rainfall. Coptotermes gestroi (Wasmann) alates were observed in April, June, and July 2011 and in June 2012. Four species of termites were found in the hand-collection survey of 44 sites: Incisitermes immigrans (Snyder)(n = 8/44), C. formosanus (n = 2/44), Cryptotermes cynocephalus Light(n = 1/44), and Neotermes sp.(n = 1/44). This study contributes to distribution data for termite species on Oahu and records alate activity for two important termite pests. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Density and Habitat Relationships of the Endemic White Mountain Fritillary (Boloria chariclea montinus) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae)
Insects 2017, 8(2), 57; doi:10.3390/insects8020057 -
Abstract
We conducted point counts in the alpine zone of the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, New Hampshire, USA, to estimate the distribution and density of the rare endemic White Mountain Fritillary (Boloria chariclea montinus). Incidence of occurrence and density of
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We conducted point counts in the alpine zone of the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, New Hampshire, USA, to estimate the distribution and density of the rare endemic White Mountain Fritillary (Boloria chariclea montinus). Incidence of occurrence and density of the endemic White Mountain Fritillary during surveys in 2012 and 2013 were greatest in the herbaceous-snowbank plant community. Densities at points in the heath-shrub-rush plant community were lower, but because this plant community is more widespread in the alpine zone, it likely supports the bulk of adult fritillaries. White Mountain Fritillary used cushion-tussock, the other alpine plant community suspected of providing habitat, only sparingly. Detectability of White Mountain Fritillaries varied as a consequence of weather conditions during the survey and among observers, suggesting that raw counts yield biased estimates of density and abundance. Point counts, commonly used to study and monitor populations of birds, were an effective means of sampling White Mountain Fritillary in the alpine environment where patches of habitat are small, irregularly shaped, and widely spaced, rendering line-transect methods inefficient and difficult to implement. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Diet Protein and Carbohydrate on Select Life-History Traits of The Black Soldier Fly Hermetia illucens (L.) (Diptera: Stratiomyidae)
Insects 2017, 8(2), 56; doi:10.3390/insects8020056 -
Abstract
This study examined the impact of diet protein and carbohydrate percentages as well as moisture on the immature development, survivorship, and resulting adult longevity and egg production of the black soldier fly, Hermetiaillucens (L.) (Diptera: Stratiomyidae). Moisture impacted development and corresponding life-history
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This study examined the impact of diet protein and carbohydrate percentages as well as moisture on the immature development, survivorship, and resulting adult longevity and egg production of the black soldier fly, Hermetiaillucens (L.) (Diptera: Stratiomyidae). Moisture impacted development and corresponding life-history traits more than protein:carbohydrate content; larvae were unable to develop on diets at 40% moisture. Larvae fed diets at 70% moisture developed faster, grew larger, and required less food than those reared on diets at 55% moisture. Larvae reared on the balanced diet (21% protein:21% carbohydrate) at 70% moisture developed the fastest on the least amount of food and had the greatest survivorship to the prepupal stage. Adult emergence and longevity were similar across treatments, indicating immature life-history traits were impacted the most. The control (Gainesville house fly) diet was superior to the artificial diets for all parameters tested. These differences could indicate that other constituents (e.g., associated microbes) serve a role in black soldier fly development. These data are valuable for industrialization of this insect as a “green” technology for recycling organic waste, which can be highly variable, to produce protein for use as feed in the livestock, poultry, and aquaculture industries, as well as for bioenergy production. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Transcriptome Survey Spanning Life Stages and Sexes of the Harlequin Bug, Murgantia histrionica
Insects 2017, 8(2), 55; doi:10.3390/insects8020055 -
Abstract
The harlequin bug, Murgantia histrionica (Hahn), is an agricultural pest in the continental United States, particularly in southern states. Reliable gene sequence data are especially useful to the development of species-specific, environmentally friendly molecular biopesticides and effective biolures for this insect. Here, mRNAs
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The harlequin bug, Murgantia histrionica (Hahn), is an agricultural pest in the continental United States, particularly in southern states. Reliable gene sequence data are especially useful to the development of species-specific, environmentally friendly molecular biopesticides and effective biolures for this insect. Here, mRNAs were sampled from whole insects at the 2nd and 4th nymphal instars, as well as sexed adults, and sequenced using Illumina RNA-Seq technology. A global assembly of these data identified 72,540 putative unique transcripts bearing high levels of similarity to transcripts identified in other taxa, with over 99% of conserved single-copy orthologs among insects being detected. Gene ontology and protein family analyses were conducted to explore the functional potential of the harlequin bug’s gene repertoire, and phylogenetic analyses were conducted on gene families germane to xenobiotic detoxification, including glutathione S-transferases, carboxylesterases and cytochrome P450s. Genic content in harlequin bug was compared with that of the closely related invasive pest, the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål). Quantitative analyses of harlequin bug gene expression levels, experimentally validated using quantitative real-time PCR, identified genes differentially expressed between life stages and/or sexes. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Abiotic and Biotic Factors Regulating Inter-Kingdom Engagement between Insects and Microbe Activity on Vertebrate Remains
Insects 2017, 8(2), 54; doi:10.3390/insects8020054 -
Abstract
Abstract: A number of abiotic and biotic factors are known to regulate arthropod attraction, colonization, and utilization of decomposing vertebrate remains. Such information is critical when assessing arthropod evidence associated with said remains in terms of forensic relevance. Interactions are not
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Abstract: A number of abiotic and biotic factors are known to regulate arthropod attraction, colonization, and utilization of decomposing vertebrate remains. Such information is critical when assessing arthropod evidence associated with said remains in terms of forensic relevance. Interactions are not limited to just between the resource and arthropods. There is another biotic factor that has been historically overlooked; however, with the advent of high-throughput sequencing, and other molecular techniques, the curtain has been pulled back to reveal a microscopic world that is playing a major role with regards to carrion decomposition patterns in association with arthropods. The objective of this publication is to review many of these factors and draw attention to their impact on microbial, specifically bacteria, activity associated with these remains as it is our contention that microbes serve as a primary mechanism regulating associated arthropod behavior. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Connecting the Dots: From an Easy Method to Computerized Species Determination
Insects 2017, 8(2), 52; doi:10.3390/insects8020052 -
Abstract
Differences in growth rate of forensically important dipteran larvae make species determination an essential requisite for an accurate estimation of time since colonization of the body. Interspecific morphological similarities, however, complicate species determination. Muscle attachment site (MAS) patterns on the inside of the
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Differences in growth rate of forensically important dipteran larvae make species determination an essential requisite for an accurate estimation of time since colonization of the body. Interspecific morphological similarities, however, complicate species determination. Muscle attachment site (MAS) patterns on the inside of the cuticula of fly larvae are species specific and grow proportionally with the animal. The patterns can therefore be used for species identification, as well as age estimation in forensically important dipteran larvae. Additionally, in species where determination has proven to be difficult—even when employing genetic methods—this easy and cheap method can be successfully applied. The method was validated for a number of Calliphoridae, as well as Sarcophagidae; for Piophilidae species, however, the method proved to be inapt. The aim of this article is to assess the utility of the MAS method for applications in forensic entomology. Furthermore, the authors are currently engineering automation for pattern acquisition in order to expand the scope of the method. Automation is also required for the fast and reasonable application of MAS for species determination. Using filters on digital microscope pictures and cross-correlating them within their frequency range allows for a calculation of the correlation coefficients. Such pattern recognition permits an automatic comparison of one larva with a database of MAS reference patterns in order to find the correct, or at least the most likely, species. This facilitates species determination in immature stages of forensically important flies and economizes time investment, as rearing to adult flies will no longer be required. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
eButterfly: Leveraging Massive Online Citizen Science for Butterfly Conservation
Insects 2017, 8(2), 53; doi:10.3390/insects8020053 -
Abstract
Data collection, storage, analysis, visualization, and dissemination are changing rapidly due to advances in new technologies driven by computer science and universal access to the internet. These technologies and web connections place human observers front and center in citizen science-driven research and are
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Data collection, storage, analysis, visualization, and dissemination are changing rapidly due to advances in new technologies driven by computer science and universal access to the internet. These technologies and web connections place human observers front and center in citizen science-driven research and are critical in generating new discoveries and innovation in such fields as astronomy, biodiversity, and meteorology. Research projects utilizing a citizen science approach address scientific problems at regional, continental, and even global scales otherwise impossible for a single lab or even a small collection of academic researchers. Here we describe eButterfly an integrative checklist-based butterfly monitoring and database web-platform that leverages the skills and knowledge of recreational butterfly enthusiasts to create a globally accessible unified database of butterfly observations across North America. Citizen scientists, conservationists, policy makers, and scientists are using eButterfly data to better understand the biological patterns of butterfly species diversity and how environmental conditions shape these patterns in space and time. eButterfly in collaboration with thousands of butterfly enthusiasts has created a near real-time butterfly data resource producing tens of thousands of observations per year open to all to share and explore. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Estimating Density and Temperature Dependence of Juvenile Vital Rates Using a Hidden Markov Model
Insects 2017, 8(2), 51; doi:10.3390/insects8020051 -
Abstract
Organisms in the wild have cryptic life stages that are sensitive to changing environmental conditions and can be difficult to survey. In this study, I used mark-recapture methods to repeatedly survey Anaea aidea (Nymphalidae) caterpillars in nature, then modeled caterpillar demography as a
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Organisms in the wild have cryptic life stages that are sensitive to changing environmental conditions and can be difficult to survey. In this study, I used mark-recapture methods to repeatedly survey Anaea aidea (Nymphalidae) caterpillars in nature, then modeled caterpillar demography as a hidden Markov process to assess if temporal variability in temperature and density influence the survival and growth of A. aidea over time. Individual encounter histories result from the joint likelihood of being alive and observed in a particular stage, and I have included hidden states by separating demography and observations into parallel and independent processes. I constructed a demographic matrix containing the probabilities of all possible fates for each stage, including hidden states, e.g., eggs and pupae. I observed both dead and live caterpillars with high probability. Peak caterpillar abundance attracted multiple predators, and survival of fifth instars declined as per capita predation rate increased through spring. A time lag between predator and prey abundance was likely the cause of improved fifth instar survival estimated at high density. Growth rates showed an increase with temperature, but the preferred model did not include temperature. This work illustrates how state-space models can include unobservable stages and hidden state processes to evaluate how environmental factors influence vital rates of cryptic life stages in the wild. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Efficacy of Chemicals for the Potential Management of the Queensland Fruit Fly Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (Diptera: Tephritidae)
Insects 2017, 8(2), 49; doi:10.3390/insects8020049 -
Abstract
This study investigated alternative in-field chemical controls against Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt). Bioassay 1 tested the mortality of adults exposed to fruit and filter paper dipped in insecticide, and the topical application of insecticide to adults/fruit. Bioassay 2 measured the mortality of adults permitted
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This study investigated alternative in-field chemical controls against Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt). Bioassay 1 tested the mortality of adults exposed to fruit and filter paper dipped in insecticide, and the topical application of insecticide to adults/fruit. Bioassay 2 measured the mortality of adults permitted to oviposit on fruit dipped in insecticide and aged 0, 1, 3, or 5 days, plus the production of offspring. Bioassay 3 tested infested fruit sprayed with insecticide. The field bioassay trialed the mortality of adults exposed to one- and five-day insecticide residues on peaches, and subsequent offspring. Abamectin, alpha-cypermethrin, clothianidin, dimethoate (half-label rate), emamectin benzoate, fenthion (half- and full-label rate), and trichlorfon were the most efficacious in bioassay 1, across 18 tested insecticide treatments. Overall, the LT50 value was lowest for fenthion (full-label rate), clothianidin, and alpha-cypermethrin. Fenthion, emamectin benzoate, and abamectin had the greatest effect on adult mortality and offspring production. Infested fruit treated with acetamiprid, fenthion, and thiacloprid produced no/very few offspring. Alpha-cypermethrin demonstrated good field efficacy against adults (one day post treatment: 97.2% mortality, five day post treatment: 98.8% mortality) and subsequent offspring (100% across one and five day post treatments), comparable to that of fenthion (full-label rate) (100% mortality for offspring and adults across both post treatments). Alpha-cypermethrin is a possible alternative to fenthion against B. tryoni; as a pyrethroid, it may not be desirable if adjunct biological control is imperative. Thiacloprid and Acetamiprid may be useful as a post-harvest treatment. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Demographic Variation of Wolbachia Infection in the Endangered Mitchell’s Satyr Butterfly
Insects 2017, 8(2), 50; doi:10.3390/insects8020050 -
Abstract
The Mitchell’s satyr, Neonympha mitchellii, is an endangered species that is limited to highly isolated habitats in the northern and southern United States. Conservation strategies for isolated endangered species often implement captive breeding and translocation programs for repopulation. However, these programs risk
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The Mitchell’s satyr, Neonympha mitchellii, is an endangered species that is limited to highly isolated habitats in the northern and southern United States. Conservation strategies for isolated endangered species often implement captive breeding and translocation programs for repopulation. However, these programs risk increasing the spread of harmful pathogens, such as the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia. Wolbachia can manipulate the host’s reproduction leading to incompatibilities between infected and uninfected hosts. This study uses molecular methods to screen for Wolbachia presence across the distribution of the Mitchell’s satyr and its subspecies, St. Francis satyr, which are both federally listed as endangered and are considered two of the rarest butterflies in North America. The screens confirmed the presence of Wolbachia in the northern and newly discovered southern populations of the Mitchell’s satyr, but not in the St. Francis satyr population. These results combined with previous reports of Wolbachia in N. mitchellii, highlight that Wolbachia infection varies both geographically and temporally in satyr populations. The temporal variance shows the importance of continued monitoring of Wolbachia infection during conservation programs. To reduce the risk of reproductive incompatibilities, it is advised that all individuals collected for conservation purposes be screened for Wolbachia and recommended to avoid the use of infected individuals for captive breeding and translocation programs. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Queen Quality and the Impact of Honey Bee Diseases on Queen Health: Potential for Interactions between Two Major Threats to Colony Health
Insects 2017, 8(2), 48; doi:10.3390/insects8020048 -
Abstract
Western honey bees, Apis mellifera, live in highly eusocial colonies that are each typically headed by a single queen. The queen is the sole reproductive female in a healthy colony, and because long-term colony survival depends on her ability to produce a
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Western honey bees, Apis mellifera, live in highly eusocial colonies that are each typically headed by a single queen. The queen is the sole reproductive female in a healthy colony, and because long-term colony survival depends on her ability to produce a large number of offspring, queen health is essential for colony success. Honey bees have recently been experiencing considerable declines in colony health. Among a number of biotic and abiotic factors known to impact colony health, disease and queen failure are repeatedly reported as important factors underlying colony losses. Surprisingly, there are relatively few studies on the relationship and interaction between honey bee diseases and queen quality. It is critical to understand the negative impacts of pests and pathogens on queen health, how queen problems might enable disease, and how both factors influence colony health. Here, we review the current literature on queen reproductive potential and the impacts of honey bee parasites and pathogens on queens. We conclude by highlighting gaps in our knowledge on the combination of disease and queen failure to provide a perspective and prioritize further research to mitigate disease, improve queen quality, and ensure colony health. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperPerspective
The Role of a PMI-Prediction Model in Evaluating Forensic Entomology Experimental Design, the Importance of Covariates, and the Utility of Response Variables for Estimating Time Since Death
Insects 2017, 8(2), 47; doi:10.3390/insects8020047 -
Abstract
The most common forensic entomological application is the estimation of some portion of the time since death, or postmortem interval (PMI). To our knowledge, a PMI estimate is almost never accompanied by an associated probability. Statistical methods are now available for calculating confidence
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The most common forensic entomological application is the estimation of some portion of the time since death, or postmortem interval (PMI). To our knowledge, a PMI estimate is almost never accompanied by an associated probability. Statistical methods are now available for calculating confidence limits for an insect-based prediction of PMI for both succession and development data. In addition to it now being possible to employ these approaches in validation experiments and casework, it is also now possible to use the criterion of prediction performance to guide training experiments, i.e., to modify carrion insect development or succession experiment design in ways likely to improve the performance of PMI predictions using the resulting data. In this paper, we provide examples, derived from our research program on calculating PMI estimate probabilities, of how training data experiment design can influence the performance of a statistical model for PMI prediction. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Propolis Counteracts Some Threats to Honey Bee Health
Insects 2017, 8(2), 46; doi:10.3390/insects8020046 -
Abstract
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are constantly dealing with threats from pathogens, pests, pesticides and poor nutrition. It is critically important to understand how honey bees’ natural immune responses (individual immunity) and collective behavioral defenses (social immunity) can improve bee health and
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Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are constantly dealing with threats from pathogens, pests, pesticides and poor nutrition. It is critically important to understand how honey bees’ natural immune responses (individual immunity) and collective behavioral defenses (social immunity) can improve bee health and productivity. One form of social immunity in honey bee colonies is the collection of antimicrobial plant resins and their use in the nest architecture as propolis. We review research on the constitutive benefits of propolis on the honey bee immune system, and its known therapeutic, colony-level effects against the pathogens Paenibacillus larvae and Ascosphaera apis. We also review the limited research on the effects of propolis against other pathogens, parasites and pests (Nosema, viruses, Varroa destructor, and hive beetles) and how propolis may enhance bee products such as royal jelly and honey. Although propolis may be a source of pesticide contamination, it also has the potential to be a detoxifying agent or primer of detoxification pathways, as well as increasing bee longevity via antioxidant-related pathways. Throughout this paper, we discuss opportunities for future research goals and present ways in which the beekeeping community can promote propolis use in standard colonies, as one way to improve and maintain colony health and resiliency. Full article
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