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Insects, Volume 14, Issue 3 (March 2023) – 94 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The scale insect Marchalina hellenica, a major contributor to pine honey production in Greece and Turkey but a pest in areas it has invaded, was long thought to be parthenogenetic. Its exact reproduction strategy remains unknown. For this reason, we studied the emergence pattern of males in Greece for two consecutive years and examined the genetic variation among 15 distant populations in Greece using an mtDNA marker (COI), comparing the results with data from Turkey. We found a Greek population that repeatedly produces males, suggesting a new role for males in the reproduction of this species. We also found that Greek and Turkish populations exhibit a strong genetic affinity. A single haplotype was present in Turkey, and two in Greece. The Greek haplotypes do not exhibit geographic continuity, obscuring the genetic pattern in Greece, an issue that is attributed to human-aided dispersal. View this paper
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11 pages, 1939 KiB  
Article
Geometric Morphometric Analysis of Wing Shape to Identify Populations of Apis mellifera in Camagüey, Cuba
by Diego Masaquiza, Mario Octavio Ferrán, Santiago Guamán, Edwin Naranjo, Maritza Vaca, Lino Marcelo Curbelo and Amilcar Arenal
Insects 2023, 14(3), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030306 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1887
Abstract
A total of 45 Apis mellifera colonies were sampled from nine centers for rearing queens in the Camagüey province, Cuba. Wing geometric morphometric analysis was used to determine the ancestry and identify Africanization processes at different altitudes in managed honeybee populations on the [...] Read more.
A total of 45 Apis mellifera colonies were sampled from nine centers for rearing queens in the Camagüey province, Cuba. Wing geometric morphometric analysis was used to determine the ancestry and identify Africanization processes at different altitudes in managed honeybee populations on the island. A total of 350 reference wings were obtained from the pure subspecies: Apis mellifera mellifera, Apis mellifera carnica, Apis mellifera ligustica, Apis mellifera caucasia, Apis mellifera iberiensis, Apis mellifera intermissa, and Apis mellifera scutellata for the study. Our results showed that altitude influences wing shape; and that 96.0% (432) of the individuals were classified as Cuban hybrids, with a tendency to the formation of a new morphotype. In addition, a great similarity was found with the subspecies Apis mellifera mellifera, and it was confirmed that there is no Africanization due to the low presence of 0.44% (2) of this morphotype in the population under study. The greatest Mahalanobis distances were obtained for the comparisons between the center rearing of queens in the Camagüey province with the subspecies A. m. scutellata (D2 = 5.18); A. m. caucasia (D2 = 6.08); A. m. ligustica (D2 = 6.27); and A. m. carnica (D2 = 6.62). The well-defined pattern of wing shape produced by honeybee populations in Camagüey’s centers for queen rearing suggests a Cuban hybrid. Moreover, it is essential to note that the populations of bees under investigation lack Africanized morphotypes, indicating that Camagüey bees have not interacted with the African lineage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Ecology, Diversity and Conservation)
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22 pages, 7765 KiB  
Article
Seasonal Phenology and Climate Associated Feeding Activity of Introduced Marchalina hellenica in Southeast Australia
by Duncan D. Jaroslow, John P. Cunningham, David I. Smith and Martin J. Steinbauer
Insects 2023, 14(3), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030305 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1479
Abstract
Invasive insects pose an increasing risk to global agriculture, environmental stability, and public health. Giant pine scale (GPS), Marchalina hellenica Gennadius (Hemiptera: Marchalinidae), is a phloem feeding scale insect endemic to the Eastern Mediterranean Basin, where it primarily feeds on Pinus halepensis and [...] Read more.
Invasive insects pose an increasing risk to global agriculture, environmental stability, and public health. Giant pine scale (GPS), Marchalina hellenica Gennadius (Hemiptera: Marchalinidae), is a phloem feeding scale insect endemic to the Eastern Mediterranean Basin, where it primarily feeds on Pinus halepensis and other Pinaceae. In 2014, GPS was detected in the southeast of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, infesting the novel host Pinus radiata. An eradication program was unsuccessful, and with this insect now established within the state, containment and management efforts are underway to stop its spread; however, there remains a need to understand the insect’s phenology and behaviour in Australia to better inform control efforts. We documented the annual life cycle and seasonal fluctuations in activity of GPS in Australia over a 32 month period at two contrasting field sites. Onset and duration of life stages were comparable to seasons in Mediterranean conspecifics, although the results imply the timing of GPS life stage progression is broadening or accelerating. GPS density was higher in Australia compared to Mediterranean reports, possibly due to the absence of key natural predators, such as the silver fly, Neoleucopis kartliana Tanasijtshuk (Diptera, Chamaemyiidae). Insect density and honeydew production in the Australian GPS population studied varied among locations and between generations. Although insect activity was well explained by climate, conditions recorded inside infested bark fissures often provided the weakest explanation of GPS activity. Our findings suggest that GPS activity is strongly influenced by climate, and this may in part be related to changes in host quality. An improved understanding of how our changing climate is influencing the phenology of phloem feeding insects such as GPS will help with predictions as to where these insects are likely to flourish and assist with management programs for pest species. Full article
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12 pages, 1120 KiB  
Article
Chromosome-Level Genome Assembly of Papilio elwesi Leech, 1889 (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae)
by Zhixiang Pan, Yinhuan Ding, Shusheng Zhang, Luxian Li and Fangzhou Ma
Insects 2023, 14(3), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030304 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1859
Abstract
A rarely seen butterfly species, the large swallowtail butterfly Papilio elwesi Leech, 1889 (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae), endemic to the Chinese mainland, has been declared a state-protected animal in China since 2000, but its genome is not yet available. To obtain high-quality genome assembly and [...] Read more.
A rarely seen butterfly species, the large swallowtail butterfly Papilio elwesi Leech, 1889 (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae), endemic to the Chinese mainland, has been declared a state-protected animal in China since 2000, but its genome is not yet available. To obtain high-quality genome assembly and annotation, we sequenced the genome and transcriptome of P. elwesi using the PacBio and PromethION platforms, respectively. The final assembled genome was 358.51 Mb, of which 97.59% was anchored to chromosomes (30 autosomes and 1 Z sex chromosome), with a contig/scaffold N50 length of 6.79/12.32 Mb and 99.0% (n = 1367) BUSCO completeness. The genome annotation pointed to 36.82% (131.99 Mb) repetitive elements and 1296 non-coding RNAs in the genome, along with 13,681 protein-coding genes that cover 98.6% (1348) of the BUSCO genes. Among the 11,499 identified gene families, 104 underwent significantly rapid expansions or contractions, and these rapidly expanding families play roles in detoxification and metabolism. Additionally, strong synteny exists between the chromosomes of P. elwesi and P. machaon. The chromosome-level genome of P. elwesi could serve as an important genomic resource for furthering our understanding of butterfly evolution and for more in-depth genomic analyses. Full article
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14 pages, 9029 KiB  
Article
Measuring and Modelling Structural Colours of Euphaedra neophron (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) Finely Tuned by Wing Scale Lower Lamina in Various Subspecies
by Zsolt Bálint, Gergely Katona, Szabolcs Sáfián, Steve Collins, Gábor Piszter, Krisztián Kertész and László Péter Biró
Insects 2023, 14(3), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030303 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1622
Abstract
The nymphalid butterfly Euphaedra neophron (Hopffer, 1855) is the only structurally coloured species representing the genus along the Indian Ocean coast in East Africa and Southern Africa, with a distribution from southern Somalia to the Kwa-Zulu-Natal region of South Africa. The range of [...] Read more.
The nymphalid butterfly Euphaedra neophron (Hopffer, 1855) is the only structurally coloured species representing the genus along the Indian Ocean coast in East Africa and Southern Africa, with a distribution from southern Somalia to the Kwa-Zulu-Natal region of South Africa. The range of E. neophron is subdivided to several, geographically distinct populations, currently recognised as subspecies by taxonomists on the basis of violet, blue, and green-coloured morphs. We investigated the optical mechanism of all these morphs by various materials science techniques. We found that the structural colour is generated by the lower lamina of the cover scales and the different colours are tuned according to their thickness, which was also proved by modelling. The colour tuning of the different subspecies does not reflect any clinal pattern, be it geographical or altitudinal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systematics, Ecology and Evolution of Lepidoptera)
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14 pages, 1572 KiB  
Article
Effect of the Landscape on Insect Pests and Associated Natural Enemies in Greenhouses Crops: The Strawberry Study Case
by Marianne Doehler, Delphine Chauvin, Anne Le Ralec, Émeline Vanespen and Yannick Outreman
Insects 2023, 14(3), 302; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030302 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1969
Abstract
Compared to open-field crops, the influence of the surrounding landscape on insect diversity in greenhouse crops has been poorly studied. Due to growing evidence of insect influx in greenhouses, identifying the landscape properties influencing the protected crop colonization by insect pests and their [...] Read more.
Compared to open-field crops, the influence of the surrounding landscape on insect diversity in greenhouse crops has been poorly studied. Due to growing evidence of insect influx in greenhouses, identifying the landscape properties influencing the protected crop colonization by insect pests and their natural enemies would promote the improvement of both pest prevention and conservation biological control methods. Here, we present a field study on the effect of the surrounding landscape on the colonization of greenhouse crops by insect pests and associated natural enemies. By monitoring 32 greenhouse strawberry crops in the South West of France, we surveyed crop colonization by four insect pests and four natural enemy groups over two cultivation periods. Our results showed that the landscape structure and composition could have contrasting effects on insect colonization of greenhouse crops so there could be species-specific effects and not general ones. While the degree of openness of greenhouses and the pest management practices modulated insect diversity marginally, we also showed that seasonality represented a key factor in insect crop colonization. The various responses of insect pests and natural enemy groups to the landscape support the idea that pest management methods must involve the surrounding environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects Ecology and Biocontrol Applications)
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13 pages, 1953 KiB  
Article
Observation of Genetic Gain with Instrumental Insemination of Honeybee Queens
by Ségolène Maucourt, Andrée Rousseau, Frédéric Fortin, Claude Robert and Pierre Giovenazzo
Insects 2023, 14(3), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030301 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2925
Abstract
Controlling mating in the honeybee (Apis mellifera) is part of one of the greatest challenges for the beekeeping industry’s genetic selection programs due to specific characteristics of their reproduction. Several techniques for supervising honeybee mating with relative effective control have been [...] Read more.
Controlling mating in the honeybee (Apis mellifera) is part of one of the greatest challenges for the beekeeping industry’s genetic selection programs due to specific characteristics of their reproduction. Several techniques for supervising honeybee mating with relative effective control have been developed over the years to allow honeybee selection. As part of this project, we compared the genetic gains for several colony performance traits, obtained using the BLUP-animal method, according to the selection pressure applied in controlled reproduction (directed fertilization versus instrumental insemination). Our results show similar genetic gains for hygienic behavior and honey production between colonies whether queens were fertilized naturally or via instrumental insemination, as well as similar or lower genetic gains for colonies with queens inseminated for spring development. In addition, we noticed greater fragility in queens following insemination. These findings show that instrumental insemination is an effective tool for reproductive control in genetic selection and for estimating breeding values more precisely. However, this technique does not result in queens of superior genetic quality for commercial purposes. Full article
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14 pages, 4240 KiB  
Article
An Acyl Carrier Protein Gene Affects Fatty Acid Synthesis and Growth of Hermetia illucens
by Xiaoyan Peng, Jiawen Liu, Baoling Li, Shengyin Wang, Bosheng Chen and Dayu Zhang
Insects 2023, 14(3), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030300 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1800
Abstract
Acyl carrier protein (ACP) is an acyl carrier in fatty acid synthesis and is an important cofactor of fatty acid synthetase. Little is known about ACP in insects and how this protein may modulate the composition and storage of fatty acids. [...] Read more.
Acyl carrier protein (ACP) is an acyl carrier in fatty acid synthesis and is an important cofactor of fatty acid synthetase. Little is known about ACP in insects and how this protein may modulate the composition and storage of fatty acids. We used an RNAi-assisted strategy to study the potential function of ACP in Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae). We identified a HiACP gene with a cDNA length of 501 bp and a classical conserved region of DSLD. This gene was highly expressed in the egg and late larval instars and was most abundant in the midgut and fat bodies of larvae. Injection of dsACP significantly inhibited the expression level of HiACP and further regulated the fatty acid synthesis in treated H. illucens larvae. The composition of saturated fatty acids was reduced, and the percentage of unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) was increased. After interfering with HiACP, the cumulative mortality of H. illucens increased to 68.00% (p < 0.05). H. illucens growth was greatly influenced. The development duration increased to 5.5 days, the average final body weights of larvae and pupae were decreased by 44.85 mg and 14.59 mg, respectively, and the average body lengths of larvae and pupae were significantly shortened by 3.09 mm and 3.82 mm, respectively. The adult eclosion rate and the oviposition of adult females were also severely influenced. These results demonstrated that HiACP regulates fatty acid content and influences multiple biological processes of H. illucens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Physiology, Reproduction and Development)
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23 pages, 7863 KiB  
Article
Temperature-Dependent Development of Nitidula rufipes (Linnaeus, 1767) (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) and Its Significance in Estimating Minimum Postmortem Interval
by Gengwang Hu, Liangliang Li, Yi Guo, Chengtao Kang, Yinghui Wang, Yanan Zhang, Zhixiang Zhang, Jiangfeng Wang and Yu Wang
Insects 2023, 14(3), 299; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030299 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2239
Abstract
Coleoptera, including the family Nitidulidae, are valuable for estimating long-term postmortem intervals in the late stage of body decomposition. This study showed that, under seven constant temperatures of 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, and 34 °C, the developmental durations of Nitidula rufipes [...] Read more.
Coleoptera, including the family Nitidulidae, are valuable for estimating long-term postmortem intervals in the late stage of body decomposition. This study showed that, under seven constant temperatures of 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, and 34 °C, the developmental durations of Nitidula rufipes (Linnaeus, 1767) from oviposition to eclosion were 71.0 ± 4.4, 52.9 ± 4.1, 40.1 ± 3.4, 30.1 ± 2.1, 24.2 ± 2.0, 21.0 ±2.3, and 20.8 ± 2.4 days, respectively. The morphological indexes of body length, the widths of the head capsules, and the distance between the urogomphi of the larvae were measured in vivo. The regression model between larval body length and developmental durations was simulated for larval aging, and the head capsule width and the distance between the urogomphi at different instars were cluster-analyzed for instar discrimination. Based on the developmental durations, larval body length and thermal summation data were obtained, and the isomorphen diagram, isomegalen diagram, linear thermal summation models, and curvilinear Optim SSI models were established. The lower developmental threshold and thermal summation constant of N. rufipes evaluated by the linear thermal summation models were 9.65 ± 0.62 °C and 471.40 ± 25.46 degree days, respectively. The lower developmental thresholds, intrinsic optimum temperature, and upper lethal developmental threshold obtained by Optim SSI models were 10.12, 24.15, and 36.00 °C, respectively. The study of the immature stages of N. rufipes can provide preliminary basic developmental data for the estimation of minimum postmortem interval (PMImin). However, more extensive studies are needed on the effects of constant and fluctuating temperatures on the development of N. rufipes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical and Livestock Entomology)
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21 pages, 16386 KiB  
Article
Morphological Study of the Alimentary Canal and Malpighian Tubules in the Adult of the Pollen Beetle Meligethes (Odonthogethes) chinensis (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae: Meligethinae)
by Longyan Chen, Meike Liu, Andrea Di Giulio, Xinxin Chen, Simone Sabatelli, Wenkai Wang and Paolo Audisio
Insects 2023, 14(3), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030298 - 20 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2901
Abstract
Meligethes (Odonthogethes) chinensis is a highly specialized species of Nitidulidae in China that takes pollen as its main food source, and its main host plant is Rubus idaeus L. (Rosaceae). In this study, the structural morphology of the alimentary canal and [...] Read more.
Meligethes (Odonthogethes) chinensis is a highly specialized species of Nitidulidae in China that takes pollen as its main food source, and its main host plant is Rubus idaeus L. (Rosaceae). In this study, the structural morphology of the alimentary canal and Malpighian tubules of adult M. (O.) chinensis was observed under light, fluorescence, and scanning electron microscopy. The alimentary canal of adult M. (O.) chinensis is divided into foregut, midgut, and hindgut. The foregut is the shortest and consists of the pharynx, esophagus, proventriculus, and cardiac valve. The midgut is a straight, distended, cylindrical, thin-walled tube. Numerous blunt-fingered gastric ceca are distributed irregularly throughout the midgut. The hindgut is subdivided into the ileum, colon, and rectum. The ileum is coiled. The colon gradually enlarges posteriorly. The rectum is thickly muscled and followed by a membranous structure. The openings of proximal Malpighian tubules are evenly inserted into the junction of the midgut and hindgut, and distal Malpighian tubules are evenly attached to the colon to form a cryptonephridial system. In this study, we also compare the structure and infer the function of the alimentary canal and Malpighian tubules among beetles, as well as discuss the evolutionary and taxonomical implications. Full article
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17 pages, 3098 KiB  
Article
Genetic Diversity of Dengue Vector Aedes albopictus Collected from South Korea, Japan, and Laos
by Jiyeong Shin, Md-Mafizur Rahman, Juil Kim, Sébastien Marcombe and Jongwoo Jung
Insects 2023, 14(3), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030297 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1896
Abstract
Aedes albopictus is native to Southeast Asia and has emerged as a major vector for vector-borne diseases that are spreading rapidly worldwide. Recent studies have shown that Ae. albopictus populations have different genetic groups dependent on their thermal adaptations; however, studies on Korean [...] Read more.
Aedes albopictus is native to Southeast Asia and has emerged as a major vector for vector-borne diseases that are spreading rapidly worldwide. Recent studies have shown that Ae. albopictus populations have different genetic groups dependent on their thermal adaptations; however, studies on Korean populations are limited. In this study, we analyzed the genetic diversity and structure of two mitochondrial genes (COI and ND5) and sixteen microsatellites in mosquitoes inhabiting Korea, Japan, and Laos. The results indicate that the Korean population has low genetic diversity, with an independent cluster distinct from the Laos population. Mixed clusters have also been observed in the Korean population. On the basis of these findings, two hypotheses are proposed. First, certain Korean populations are native. Second, some subpopulations that descended from the metapopulation (East Asian countries) were introduced to Japan before migrating to Korea. Furthermore, we previously demonstrated that Ae. albopictus appears to have been imported to Korea. In conclusion, the dengue-virus-carrying mosquitoes could migrate to Korea from Southeast Asian epidemic regions, where they can survive during the severe winter months. The key findings can be used to establish an integrated pest management strategy based on population genetics for the Korean Ae. albopictus population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Ecology, Diversity and Conservation)
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16 pages, 1355 KiB  
Article
Effects of Managed and Unmanaged Floral Margins on Pollination Services and Production in Melon Crops
by María Pérez-Marcos, Francisco Javier Ortiz-Sánchez, Elena López-Gallego, Helena Ibáñez, Aline Carrasco and Juan Antonio Sanchez
Insects 2023, 14(3), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030296 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1547
Abstract
Melon is among the most consumed fruits in the world, being a crop that depends almost entirely on insects for its reproduction, which is why it is especially sensitive to declining pollination services. Restoration and maintenance of hedgerows and agricultural borders around crops [...] Read more.
Melon is among the most consumed fruits in the world, being a crop that depends almost entirely on insects for its reproduction, which is why it is especially sensitive to declining pollination services. Restoration and maintenance of hedgerows and agricultural borders around crops are generally carried out by sowing flowering herbaceous plants or establishing shrubby species; however, a cost-effective and lower-maintenance alternative for farmers could be as simple as allowing vegetation to regenerate naturally without any management actions. This work aimed to test the effects of three different types of margins (managed herbaceous, managed shrubby, and unmanaged herbaceous) on the overall abundance and richness of wild pollinators in melon crops. The work was performed in three localities in southern Spain over two years. Pollinators were monitored visually using 1 × 1 m sampling squares and pan traps within melon fields. Moreover, crop yield was estimated by measuring fruit weight and the number of seeds. In general, higher abundances of pollinators were observed in melon fields during the second year. In addition, the abundances of Syrphidae, Andrenidae, Apidae (excl. Apis mellifera), and pollinators other than bees, belonging to the orders Diptera, Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, and Lepidoptera, showed higher values in melon fields with shrubby margins than in fields with herbaceous margins (managed or unmanaged). However, no effect of floral margins on the yield of melon crops was found. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Insects on Pollination Ecology)
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13 pages, 2160 KiB  
Article
Oviposition Preference of the American Hoverfly, Eupeodes americanus, between Banker Plants and Target Crops
by Noémie Gonzalez, Arlette Fauteux, Jean-Christophe Louis, Rosemarije Buitenhuis and Eric Lucas
Insects 2023, 14(3), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030295 - 19 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1597
Abstract
Assessing the oviposition preferences of predatory hoverflies is a key factor in the prediction of the success of these biological control agents against aphids in greenhouses, especially when using banker plant systems or in mixed-crop contexts. In this study, two aspects of the [...] Read more.
Assessing the oviposition preferences of predatory hoverflies is a key factor in the prediction of the success of these biological control agents against aphids in greenhouses, especially when using banker plant systems or in mixed-crop contexts. In this study, two aspects of the oviposition preferences of the American hoverfly, Eupeodes americanus (Wiedemann, 1830) (Diptera: Syrphidae), were evaluated. Firstly, the preference between the banker plant and the target crop was evaluated for three banker plant species (barley, finger millet, or corn) and two target crops (cucumber or pepper). Secondly, the preference between the same two target crops was assessed. Female oviposition preferences were evaluated via two-choice experiments using different plant/aphid systems. The results showed that, for the cucumber crops, the species of banker plant used drastically influenced the oviposition preference of the hoverfly, with a preference for barley over cucumber, cucumber over finger millet, and no preference between corn and cucumber. Unlike cucumber, when used with pepper, barley engendered a preference for the target crop. We conclude that the barley banker plant could be adequate for aphid control in pepper but not in cucumber crops. In a mixed-crop context, the American hoverfly had no preference between cucumber and pepper, which means it has the potential to protect both crops in a mixed-crop greenhouse context. This study shows that the banker plant system should be carefully chosen according to the crops/aphids present in the greenhouse to optimize the impact of the hoverfly as a biocontrol agent. Further work is required to confirm this choice of banker plant in semifield or field testing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Integrated Pest Management of Crops)
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15 pages, 899 KiB  
Review
Current Knowledge on Chemosensory-Related Candidate Molecules Potentially Involved in Tick Olfaction via Haller’s Organ
by Mebrahtu Berhe Gebremedhin, Zhengmao Xu, Ceyan Kuang, Nigus Abebe Shumuye, Jie Cao, Yongzhi Zhou, Houshuang Zhang and Jinlin Zhou
Insects 2023, 14(3), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030294 - 18 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1591
Abstract
Ticks are obligatory hematophagous ectoparasites and vectors of many animal and human pathogens. Chemosensation plays a significant role in tick communication with their environment, including seeking out blood meal hosts. Studies on the structure and function of Haller’s organ and its components have [...] Read more.
Ticks are obligatory hematophagous ectoparasites and vectors of many animal and human pathogens. Chemosensation plays a significant role in tick communication with their environment, including seeking out blood meal hosts. Studies on the structure and function of Haller’s organ and its components have improved our understanding regarding tick olfaction and its chemical ecology. Compared with the knowledge on insect olfaction, less is known about the molecular basis of olfaction in ticks. This review focused on the chemosensory-related candidate molecules likely involved in tick olfaction. Members of the ionotropic receptor family and a new class of odorant-binding proteins are now known to be involved in tick olfaction, which appear to differ from that of insects. These candidate molecules are more closely related to those of mites and spiders than to other arthropods. The amino acid sequences of candidate niemann–pick type C2 and microplusin-like proteins in ticks exhibit features indicating their potential role as binding proteins. In the future, more comprehensive pertinent research considering the existing shortcomings will be required to fully understand the molecular basis of tick olfactory chemoreception. This information may contribute to the development of new molecular-based control mechanisms to reduce tick populations and related disease transmission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chemoreception in Insects: Function and Evolution)
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15 pages, 2917 KiB  
Article
Predicting Culex pipiens/restuans Population Dynamics Using a Weather-Driven Dynamic Compartmental Population Model
by Karin Bakran-Lebl, Lene Jung Kjær and Beate Conrady
Insects 2023, 14(3), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030293 - 17 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2312
Abstract
Mosquitoes of the genus Culex are important vectors of a variety of arthropod-borne viral infections. In most of the northern parts of the USA, Cx. pipiens/restuans is the predominant representative of this genus. As vectors, they play a key role in the spreading [...] Read more.
Mosquitoes of the genus Culex are important vectors of a variety of arthropod-borne viral infections. In most of the northern parts of the USA, Cx. pipiens/restuans is the predominant representative of this genus. As vectors, they play a key role in the spreading of arboviruses and thus, knowledge of the population dynamic of mosquitoes is important to understand the disease ecology of these viruses. As poikilotherm animals, the vital rates of mosquitoes are highly dependent on ambient temperature, and also on precipitation. We present a compartmental model for the population dynamics of Cx. pipiens/restuans. The model is driven by temperature, precipitation, and daytime length (which can be calculated from the geographic latitude). For model evaluation, we used long-term mosquito capture data, which were averaged from multiple sites in Cook County, Illinois. The model fitted the observation data and was able to reproduce between-year differences in the abundance of the Cx. pipiens/restuans mosquitoes, as well as the different seasonal trends. Using this model, we evaluated the effectiveness of targeting different vital rates for mosquito control strategies. The final model is able to reproduce the weekly mean Cx. pipiens/restuans abundance for Cook County with a high accuracy, and over a long time period of 20 years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Sensitive Ecological and Dynamical Models of Insects)
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17 pages, 851 KiB  
Review
A Review of the Host Plant Location and Recognition Mechanisms of Asian Longhorn Beetle
by Fei Lyu, Xiaoxia Hai and Zhigang Wang
Insects 2023, 14(3), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030292 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2023
Abstract
The Asian longhorn beetle (ALB), Anoplophora glabripennis Motschulsky, is a polyphagous xylophage with dozens of reported host tree species. However, the mechanisms by which individuals locate and recognize host plants are still unknown. We summarize the current knowledge of the host plant list, [...] Read more.
The Asian longhorn beetle (ALB), Anoplophora glabripennis Motschulsky, is a polyphagous xylophage with dozens of reported host tree species. However, the mechanisms by which individuals locate and recognize host plants are still unknown. We summarize the current knowledge of the host plant list, host kairomones, odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) and microbial symbionts of this beetle and their practical applications, and finally discuss the host localization and recognition mechanisms. A total of 209 species (or cultivars) were reported as ALB host plants, including 101 species of higher sensitivity; host kairomones were preferentially bound to ALB recombinant OBPs, including cis-3-hexen-1-ol, δ-3-carene, nonanal, linalool, and β-caryophyllene. In addition, microbial symbionts may help ALB degrade their host. Complementarity of tree species with different levels of resistance may reduce damage, but trapping effectiveness for adults was limited using a combination of host kairomones and sex pheromones in the field. Therefore, we discuss host location behavior from a new perspective and show that multiple cues are used by ALB to locate and recognize host plants. Further research into host resistance mechanisms and visual signal recognition, and the interaction of sex pheromone synthesis, symbiont microbiota, and host plants may help reveal the host recognition mechanisms of ALBs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Advances in Chemical Ecology)
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40 pages, 31944 KiB  
Article
Phylogenetic Analysis of the Genus Planaphrodes Hamilton (Hemiptera, Cicadellidae, Aphrodinae) Based on Morphological Characteristics, with Revision of Species from China, Korea and Japan
by Zonglei Liang, Jin-Hyung Kwon, Masami Hayashi, Christopher H. Dietrich and Wu Dai
Insects 2023, 14(3), 291; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030291 - 16 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1634
Abstract
A morphology-based phylogeny of the Holarctic leafhopper genus Planaphrodes Hamilton is reconstructed for the first time based on 39 discrete male adult morphological characters. The results support the monophyly of Planaphrodes, with the included species forming two monophyletic lineages defined mainly by [...] Read more.
A morphology-based phylogeny of the Holarctic leafhopper genus Planaphrodes Hamilton is reconstructed for the first time based on 39 discrete male adult morphological characters. The results support the monophyly of Planaphrodes, with the included species forming two monophyletic lineages defined mainly by the number and location of aedeagus processes. The position of Planaphrodes in the Aphrodini was resolved as follows: (Stroggylocephalus + (Anoscopus + (Planaphrodes + Aphrodes))). The fauna of Planaphrodes from China, Japan and Korea are reviewed and six species are recognized, including two new species: P. bifasciatus (Linnaeus), P. sahlbergii (Signoret), P. nigricans (Matsumura), P. laevus (Rey), P. baoxingensis sp. nov. (China: Sichuan) and P. faciems sp. nov. (China: Hubei). Acocephalus alboguttatus Kato, 1933 syn. nov. and Aphrodes daiwenicus Kuoh, 1981 syn. nov. are considered junior synonyms of Planaphrodes sahlbergii (Signoret, 1879). Planaphrodes bella Choe, 1981 is a junior synonym of Planaphrodes nigricans (Matsumura, 1912). A checklist and key to species of Planaphrodes are provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Systematics, Phylogeny and Evolution)
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14 pages, 4076 KiB  
Article
The Complete Mitochondrial Genome of the Chinese White Wax Scale Insect, Ericerus pela Chavannes (Hemiptera: Coccidae), with Novel Gene Arrangement and Truncated tRNA Genes
by Jia-Qi An, Shu-Hui Yu, Shu-Jun Wei, Hong-Ping Zhang, Yuan-Chong Shi, Qiu-Yu Zhao, Zuo-Yi Fu and Pu Yang
Insects 2023, 14(3), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030290 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1594
Abstract
The Chinese white wax scale insect, Ericerus pela Chavannes (Hemiptera: Coccidae), is one of the scale insects with great economic value and has been dispersed and reared in China for over one thousand years. Its mitochondrial genome provides essential information for the molecular [...] Read more.
The Chinese white wax scale insect, Ericerus pela Chavannes (Hemiptera: Coccidae), is one of the scale insects with great economic value and has been dispersed and reared in China for over one thousand years. Its mitochondrial genome provides essential information for the molecular identification and genetic study of this species. We assembled the complete mitochondrial genome of E. pela based on PacBio sequencing and analyzed its genomic features. The genome was 17,766 bp in length with 13 protein-coding genes, 22 tRNAs, and two rRNA genes. The analysis results showed E. pela had significant gene rearrangements involving tRNAs compared with other Coccoidea species. Furthermore, E. pela’s nine tRNAs were identified to have obvious truncated structures. The phylogenetic tree compiled of the species showed a long branch of the Coccoidea lineage, which indicated the high evolutionary rate in this group. Our study revealed the mitochondrial characteristics of E. pela and enriched the mitochondrial genetic information on Coccoidea species. It also determined the occurrence of gene rearrangement for the species in this superfamily. Full article
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13 pages, 2266 KiB  
Article
Vertical Transmission of Zika Virus by Florida Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus
by Rebecca A. Zimler and Barry W. Alto
Insects 2023, 14(3), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030289 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1400
Abstract
The Zika virus pandemic of 2015, with mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus as the putative vectors, prompted public health concerns and the need to improve our understanding of both the horizontal and vertical transmission of Zika virus. Local transmission is especially concerning [...] Read more.
The Zika virus pandemic of 2015, with mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus as the putative vectors, prompted public health concerns and the need to improve our understanding of both the horizontal and vertical transmission of Zika virus. Local transmission is especially concerning for Florida, where these two mosquito species are abundant and widespread throughout much of the year. Here, we evaluate the relative vertical transmission and filial infection rate of progeny of Florida Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus following ingestion of infected blood by parental mosquitoes at either 6 or 7 log10 plaque forming units/mL of Zika virus. Florida Ae. aegypti exhibited higher rates of disseminated infection than Ae. albopictus, consistent with other studies indicating greater permissibility of Zika virus in Ae. aegypti. We observed low vertical transmission in both Ae. aegypti (1.1–3.2%) and Ae. albopictus (0–0.3%) mosquitoes, despite imbibing infected blood at titers that yielded high susceptibility to infection and modest horizontal transmission rates. Filial infection rates, testing individual mosquitoes for Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus, were 6–10% and 0–6.4%, respectively. Both these invasive Stegomyia mosquitoes were capable of vertically transmitting Zika virus under laboratory conditions, and approximately 5% of female progeny of Ae. aegypti were capable of transmitting Zika virus upon first bite. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Host–Parasite Interactions)
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15 pages, 1627 KiB  
Article
Composition and Food Web Structure of Aphid-Parasitoid Populations on Plum Orchards in Chile
by Jeniffer K. Alvarez-Baca, Xiomara Montealegre, Armando Alfaro-Tapia, Francisca Zepeda-Paulo, Joan Van Baaren, Blas Lavandero and Cécile Le Lann
Insects 2023, 14(3), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030288 - 15 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1631
Abstract
By increasing plant diversity in agroecosystems, it has been proposed that one can enhance and stabilize ecosystem functioning by increasing natural enemies’ diversity. Food web structure determines ecosystem functioning as species at different trophic levels are linked in interacting networks. We compared the [...] Read more.
By increasing plant diversity in agroecosystems, it has been proposed that one can enhance and stabilize ecosystem functioning by increasing natural enemies’ diversity. Food web structure determines ecosystem functioning as species at different trophic levels are linked in interacting networks. We compared the food web structure and composition of the aphid– parasitoid and aphid-hyperparasitoid networks in two differentially managed plum orchards: plums with inter-rows of oats as a cover crop (OCC) and plums with inter-rows of spontaneous vegetation (SV). We hypothesized that food web composition and structure vary between OCC and SV, with network specialization being higher in OCC and a more complex food web composition in SV treatment. We found a more complex food web composition with a higher species richness in SV compared to OCC. Quantitative food web metrics differed significantly among treatments showing a higher generality, vulnerability, interaction evenness, and linkage density in SV, while OCC presented a higher degree of specialization. Our results suggest that plant diversification can greatly influence the food web structure and composition, with bottom-up effects induced by plant and aphid hosts that might benefit parasitoids and provide a better understanding of the activity, abundance, and interactions between aphids, parasitoids, and hyperparasitoids in plum orchards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Pest and Vector Management)
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9 pages, 1702 KiB  
Communication
Field Efficacy of Spinetoram for the Management of Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)
by Andrea Kawabata, Roxana Myers, Matthew Miyahira, Nicholas Yamauchi and Stuart T. Nakamoto
Insects 2023, 14(3), 287; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030287 - 15 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1555
Abstract
Coffee berry borer (CBB), Hypothenemus hampei, is a damaging insect pest of coffee worldwide. CBB has recently been introduced to Hawaii, so management techniques are still being developed for sustainable and cost-efficient approaches for the effective control of this pest. Field trials [...] Read more.
Coffee berry borer (CBB), Hypothenemus hampei, is a damaging insect pest of coffee worldwide. CBB has recently been introduced to Hawaii, so management techniques are still being developed for sustainable and cost-efficient approaches for the effective control of this pest. Field trials were conducted to evaluate the use of spinetoram on CBB infestation and bean damage compared to Beauveria bassiana and an untreated control. Initial CBB infestations were similar, and the treatments resulted in no detectable differences in subsequent new infestations. Damage to the coffee beans was reduced by both spinetoram and B. bassiana compared to controls as the mortality of adult beetles resulting from the treatments prevented them from moving into the bean (C/D position) from the berry (A/B position). The mortality of adult beetles also prevented reproduction, subsequently reducing future CBB populations in the field. When applied to infested berries, spinetoram reduced live beetle populations in the A/B position by 73% and CBBs in the C/D position by 70% compared to the water control, whereas applications of B. bassiana reduced beetles in the C/D position by 37% but had no effect on the live A/B population. An integrated pest management program is recommended for the effective control of CBBs, and the use of spinetoram applications when adult beetles are in the A/B position appears to have potential as another management tool. Full article
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16 pages, 2112 KiB  
Article
Phylogeny and Evolutionary Timescale of Muscidae (Diptera: Calyptratae) Inferred from Mitochondrial Genomes
by Xin Li, Xiaodong Cai, Shuangmei Ding, Liang Wang, Wenliang Li, Xiaoyan Liu, Chuntian Zhang and Ding Yang
Insects 2023, 14(3), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030286 - 15 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3010
Abstract
House flies (Muscidae) comprise the most species-rich family of the muscoid grade with over 5000 described species worldwide, and they are abundant in various terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The high number of species, varied appearances, complex feeding habits, and wide distributions have hindered [...] Read more.
House flies (Muscidae) comprise the most species-rich family of the muscoid grade with over 5000 described species worldwide, and they are abundant in various terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The high number of species, varied appearances, complex feeding habits, and wide distributions have hindered researchers from understanding their phylogeny and evolutionary history. Here, we newly sequenced fifteen mitochondrial genomes and reconstructed the phylogenetic relationships and divergence time among eight subfamilies of Muscidae (Diptera). The best phylogenetic tree, which was inferred by IQ-Tree, recovered the monophyly for seven out of eight subfamilies (except for Mydaeinae). Based on phylogenetic analyses and morphological characteristics, we prefer the subfamily status of Azeliinae and Reinwardtiinae, and separate Stomoxyinae from Muscinae. Genus Helina Robineau-Desvoidy, 1830 was synonymized with Phaonia Robineau-Desvoidy, 1830. The divergence time estimation indicated Muscidae originated at 51.59 Ma (early Eocene). Most subfamilies had originated around 41 Ma. We provided a mtgenomic viewpoint on the phylogenetic relationships and divergence time estimation of Muscidae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Systematics, Phylogeny and Evolution)
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11 pages, 5957 KiB  
Article
Petals Reduce Attachment of Insect Pollinators: A Case Study of the Plant Dahlia pinnata and the Fly Eristalis tenax
by Elena V. Gorb and Stanislav N. Gorb
Insects 2023, 14(3), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030285 - 14 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2095
Abstract
In order to understand whether the petal surface in “cafeteria”-type flowers, which offer their nectar and pollen to insect pollinators in an open way, is adapted to a stronger attachment of insect pollinators, we selected the plant Dahlia pinnata and the hovering fly [...] Read more.
In order to understand whether the petal surface in “cafeteria”-type flowers, which offer their nectar and pollen to insect pollinators in an open way, is adapted to a stronger attachment of insect pollinators, we selected the plant Dahlia pinnata and the hovering fly Eristalis tenax, both being generalist species according to their pollinator’s spectrum and diet, respectively. We combined cryo scanning electron microscopy examination of leaves, petals, and flower stems with force measurements of fly attachment to surfaces of these plant organs. Our results clearly distinguished two groups among tested surfaces: (1) the smooth leaf and reference smooth glass ensured a rather high attachment force of the fly; (2) the flower stem and petal significantly reduced it. The attachment force reduction on flower stems and petals is caused by different structural effects. In the first case, it is a combination of ridged topography and three-dimensional wax projections, whereas the papillate petal surface is supplemented by cuticular folds. In our opinion, these “cafeteria”-type flowers have the petals, where the colour intensity is enhanced due to papillate epidermal cells covered by cuticular folds at the micro- and nanoscale, and exactly these latter structures mainly contribute to adhesion reduction in generalist insect pollinators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical and Chemical Interactions between Insects and Plants)
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13 pages, 14087 KiB  
Article
Relationship between Dubas Bug (Ommatissus lybicus) Infestation and the Development of Fungal-Induced Leaf Spots in Date Palms (Phoenix dactylifera)
by Salem S. Al-Nabhani, Rethinasamy Velazhahan, Shah Hussain, Suad Al-Raqmi, Maryam Al-Hashmi and Abdullah M. Al-Sadi
Insects 2023, 14(3), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030283 - 14 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1885
Abstract
The dubas bug (Ommatissus lybicus) (Hemiptera: Tropiduchidae) is a serious pest in date palms in several date-producing countries, including Oman. Infestation results in a severe reduction in yield and a weakening of date palm growth. In addition, egg laying, which causes [...] Read more.
The dubas bug (Ommatissus lybicus) (Hemiptera: Tropiduchidae) is a serious pest in date palms in several date-producing countries, including Oman. Infestation results in a severe reduction in yield and a weakening of date palm growth. In addition, egg laying, which causes injuries to date palm leaves, results in the development of necrotic lesions on the leaves. This study aimed at investigating the role of fungi in the development of necrotic leaf spots following dubas bug infestation. Leaf samples developing leaf spot symptoms were collected from dubas-bug-infested leaves, as the leaf spot symptoms were not observed on the non-infested leaves. Isolation from date palm leaves collected from 52 different farms yielded 74 fungal isolates. Molecular identification of the isolates revealed that they belonged to 31 fungal species, 16 genera, and 10 families. Among the isolated fungi, there were five Alternaria species, four species each of Penicillium and Fusarium, three species each of Cladosporium and Phaeoacremonium, and two species each of Quambalaria and Trichoderma. Out of the thirty-one fungal species, nine were pathogenic on date palm leaves and induced varying levels of leaf spot symptoms. The pathogenic species were Alternaria destruens, Fusarium fujikuroi species complex, F. humuli, F. microconidium, Cladosporium pseudochalastosporoides, C. endophyticum, Quambalaria cyanescens, Phaeoacremonium krajdenii, and P. venezuelense, which were reported for the first time as leaf spot causal agents in date palms. The study provided novel information on the effect of dubas bug infestation in date palms on the development of fungal infection and associated leaf spot symptoms. Full article
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12 pages, 4599 KiB  
Article
The Adult and Larva of a New Species of the Genus Dila (Coleoptera, Blaptinae, Blaptini) from Himalayas, with Molecular Phylogenetic Inferences of Related Genera of the Blaptini
by Xiu-Min Li, Baoyue Ji, Juan Tian and Guo-Dong Ren
Insects 2023, 14(3), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030284 - 13 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1600
Abstract
In this study, a new species of the genus Dila Fischer von Waldheim, 1844, D. ngaria Li and Ren sp. n., was described from the southwestern Himalayas. The adult and larva were associated using molecular phylogenetic analyses based on fragments of three mitochondrial [...] Read more.
In this study, a new species of the genus Dila Fischer von Waldheim, 1844, D. ngaria Li and Ren sp. n., was described from the southwestern Himalayas. The adult and larva were associated using molecular phylogenetic analyses based on fragments of three mitochondrial and one nuclear gene fragment (COI, Cytb, 16S and 28S-D2). Additionally, a preliminary phylogenetic tree was reconstructed and discussed based on a molecular dataset with seven related genera and 24 species of the tribe Blaptini. Meanwhile, the monophyly of the subtribe Dilina and the taxonomic status of D. bomina Ren and Li, 2001 are discussed. This work provides new molecular data for phylogenetic studies on the tribe Blaptini in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Systematics, Phylogeny and Evolution)
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13 pages, 77977 KiB  
Article
The Structure of the Female Genital System of the Diving Beetle Scarodytes halensis (Fabricius, 1787) (Hydroporinae, Dytiscidae), and the Organization of the Spermatheca and the Spermathecal Gland Complex
by Romano Dallai, David Mercati, Pietro P. Fanciulli and Pietro Lupetti
Insects 2023, 14(3), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030282 - 13 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1140
Abstract
The fine structure of the female reproductive organs of the diving beetle Scarodytes halensis has been described, with particular attention to the complex organization of the spermatheca and the spermathecal gland. These organs are fused in a single structure whose epithelium is involved [...] Read more.
The fine structure of the female reproductive organs of the diving beetle Scarodytes halensis has been described, with particular attention to the complex organization of the spermatheca and the spermathecal gland. These organs are fused in a single structure whose epithelium is involved in a quite different activity. The secretory cells of the spermathecal gland have a large extracellular cistern with secretions; duct-forming cells, by their efferent duct, transport the secretions up to the apical cell region where they are discharged into the gland lumen. On the contrary, the spermatheca, filled with sperm, has a quite simple epithelium, apparently not involved in secretory activity. The ultrastructure of the spermatheca is almost identical to that described in a closely related species Stictonectes optatus. Sc. halensis has a long spermathecal duct connecting the bursa copulatrix to the spermatheca–spermathecal gland complex. This duct has a thick outer layer of muscle cells. Through muscle contractions, sperm can be pushed forwarding up to the complex of the two organs. A short fertilization duct allows sperm to reach the common oviduct where eggs will be fertilized. The different organization of the genital systems of Sc. halensis and S. optatus might be related to a different reproductive strategy of the two species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Physiology, Reproduction and Development)
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13 pages, 2386 KiB  
Article
Potato (Solanum tuberosum) as a New Host for Pentastiridius leporinus (Hemiptera: Cixiidae) and Candidatus Arsenophonus Phytopathogenicus
by Sarah Christin Behrmann, André Rinklef, Christian Lang, Andreas Vilcinskas and Kwang-Zin Lee
Insects 2023, 14(3), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030281 - 13 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2956
Abstract
Pentastiridius leporinus is a planthopper (Hemiptera: Cixiidae) that vectors two phloem-restricted bacterial pathogens to sugar beet (Beta vulgaris (L.)): the γ-proteobacterium Candidatus Arsenophonus phytopathogenicus and the stolbur phytoplasma Candidatus Phytoplasma solani. These bacteria cause an economically important disease known as syndrome basses [...] Read more.
Pentastiridius leporinus is a planthopper (Hemiptera: Cixiidae) that vectors two phloem-restricted bacterial pathogens to sugar beet (Beta vulgaris (L.)): the γ-proteobacterium Candidatus Arsenophonus phytopathogenicus and the stolbur phytoplasma Candidatus Phytoplasma solani. These bacteria cause an economically important disease known as syndrome basses richesses (SBR), characterized by yellowing, deformed leaves and low beet yields. Having observed potato fields in Germany infested with cixiid planthoppers and showing signs of leaf yellowing, we used morphological criteria and COI and COII as molecular markers, to identify the planthoppers (adults and nymphs) primarily as P. leporinus. We analyzed planthoppers, potato tubers, and sugar beet roots and detected both pathogens in all sample types, confirming that P. leporinus adults and nymphs can transmit the bacteria. This is the first time that P. leporinus has been shown to transmit Arsenophonus to potato plants. We also found that two generations of P. leporinus were produced in the warm summer of 2022, which will probably increase the pest population size (and thus the prevalence of SBR) in 2023. We conclude that P. leporinus has expanded its host range to potato, and can now utilize both host plants during its developmental cycle, a finding that will facilitate the development of more efficient control strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Pest and Vector Management)
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17 pages, 11642 KiB  
Article
Detection of Rice Pests Based on Self-Attention Mechanism and Multi-Scale Feature Fusion
by Yuqi Hu, Xiaoling Deng, Yubin Lan, Xin Chen, Yongbing Long and Cunjia Liu
Insects 2023, 14(3), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030280 - 13 Mar 2023
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 5512
Abstract
In recent years, the occurrence of rice pests has been increasing, which has greatly affected the yield of rice in many parts of the world. The prevention and cure of rice pests is urgent. Aiming at the problems of the small appearance difference [...] Read more.
In recent years, the occurrence of rice pests has been increasing, which has greatly affected the yield of rice in many parts of the world. The prevention and cure of rice pests is urgent. Aiming at the problems of the small appearance difference and large size change of various pests, a deep neural network named YOLO-GBS is proposed in this paper for detecting and classifying pests from digital images. Based on YOLOv5s, one more detection head is added to expand the detection scale range, the global context (GC) attention mechanism is integrated to find targets in complex backgrounds, PANet is replaced by BiFPN network to improve the feature fusion effect, and Swin Transformer is introduced to take full advantage of the self-attention mechanism of global contextual information. Results from experiments on our insect dataset containing Crambidae, Noctuidae, Ephydridae, and Delphacidae showed that the average mAP of the proposed model is up to 79.8%, which is 5.4% higher than that of YOLOv5s, and the detection effect of various complex scenes is significantly improved. In addition, the paper analyzes and discusses the generalization ability of YOLO-GBS model on a larger-scale pest data set. This research provides a more accurate and efficient intelligent detection method for rice pests and others crop pests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Integrated Pest Management of Crops)
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12 pages, 2233 KiB  
Article
Factors Guiding the Orientation of Nymphal Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula
by Miriam F. Cooperband, Jacob D. Wickham and Melissa L. Warden
Insects 2023, 14(3), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030279 - 11 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1852
Abstract
A mark–release–recapture experiment was conducted to evaluate the orientation of spotted lanternfly (SLF) Lycorma delicatula White (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) nymphs when released equidistant between two trees. The experiment was repeated weekly for eight weeks in a heavily infested area with mature tree-of-heaven Ailanthus altissima [...] Read more.
A mark–release–recapture experiment was conducted to evaluate the orientation of spotted lanternfly (SLF) Lycorma delicatula White (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) nymphs when released equidistant between two trees. The experiment was repeated weekly for eight weeks in a heavily infested area with mature tree-of-heaven Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle (Sapindales: Simaroubaceae) planted in rows as ornamental street trees in Beijing, China. One tree in each pair received a methyl salicylate lure, and the lure was rotated between trees every week as it aged. Two additional independent variables for each tree were also analyzed: size and SLF population density. Marked–released SLF significantly chose trees with higher SLF population density over trees with lower density populations, and they also chose larger trees significantly more than smaller trees. Population density and tree size were better predictors of attraction than lures, but when those factors were controlled, SLF significantly chose trees with methyl salicylate lures over control trees for the first 4 weeks of lure life. Wild SLF distribution was assessed weekly, revealing strong aggregation in first and second instars that diminished with development to the third and fourth instars. Thus, nymphal SLF aggregate, and orientation is strongly guided by the presence of other SLF and tree size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Invasive Arthropod Pests - Volume II)
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13 pages, 2072 KiB  
Article
Maize-YOLO: A New High-Precision and Real-Time Method for Maize Pest Detection
by Shuai Yang, Ziyao Xing, Hengbin Wang, Xinrui Dong, Xiang Gao, Zhe Liu, Xiaodong Zhang, Shaoming Li and Yuanyuan Zhao
Insects 2023, 14(3), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030278 - 10 Mar 2023
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 4123
Abstract
The frequent occurrence of crop pests and diseases is one of the important factors leading to the reduction of crop quality and yield. Since pests are characterized by high similarity and fast movement, this poses a challenge for artificial intelligence techniques to identify [...] Read more.
The frequent occurrence of crop pests and diseases is one of the important factors leading to the reduction of crop quality and yield. Since pests are characterized by high similarity and fast movement, this poses a challenge for artificial intelligence techniques to identify pests in a timely and accurate manner. Therefore, we propose a new high-precision and real-time method for maize pest detection, Maize-YOLO. The network is based on YOLOv7 with the insertion of the CSPResNeXt-50 module and VoVGSCSP module. It can improve network detection accuracy and detection speed while reducing the computational effort of the model. We evaluated the performance of Maize-YOLO in a typical large-scale pest dataset IP102. We trained and tested against those pest species that are more damaging to maize, including 4533 images and 13 classes. The experimental results show that our method outperforms the current state-of-the-art YOLO family of object detection algorithms and achieves suitable performance at 76.3% mAP and 77.3% recall. The method can provide accurate and real-time pest detection and identification for maize crops, enabling highly accurate end-to-end pest detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Pest and Vector Management)
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18 pages, 3053 KiB  
Article
Effects of Traditional Orchard Abandonment and Landscape Context on the Beneficial Arthropod Community in a Mediterranean Agroecosystem
by Víctor de Paz, Josep D. Asís, Andrea Holzschuh and Laura Baños-Picón
Insects 2023, 14(3), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14030277 - 10 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1629
Abstract
Agricultural abandonment is one of the main land-use changes in Europe, and its consequences on biodiversity are context- and taxa-dependent. While several studies have worked on this topic, few have focused on traditional orchards, especially in different landscapes and under a Mediterranean climate. [...] Read more.
Agricultural abandonment is one of the main land-use changes in Europe, and its consequences on biodiversity are context- and taxa-dependent. While several studies have worked on this topic, few have focused on traditional orchards, especially in different landscapes and under a Mediterranean climate. In this context, we aimed to determine the effects of almond orchard abandonment on the communities of three groups of beneficial arthropods and the role of the landscape context in modulating these effects. Between February and September 2019, four samplings were carried out in twelve almond orchards (three abandoned and three traditional (active orchards under traditional agricultural management) located in simple landscapes as well as three abandoned and three traditional in complex landscapes). Abandoned and traditional almond orchards harbor different arthropod communities and diversity metrics that are strongly conditioned by seasonality. Abandoned orchards can favor pollinators and natural enemies, providing alternative resources in simple landscapes. However, the role that abandoned orchards play in simple landscapes disappears as the percentage of semi-natural habitats in the landscape increases. Our results show that landscape simplification, through the loss of semi-natural habitats, has negative consequences on arthropod biodiversity, even in traditional farming landscapes with small fields and high crop diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Ecology, Diversity and Conservation)
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