Insects2015, 6(3), 716-731; doi:10.3390/insects6030716 (registering DOI) - published 31 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Many parasites enhance their dispersal and transmission by manipulating host behaviour. One intriguing example concerns baculoviruses that induce hyperactivity and tree-top disease (i.e., climbing to elevated positions prior to death) in their caterpillar hosts. Little is known about the underlying mechanisms of such parasite-induced behavioural changes. Here, we studied the role of the ecdysteroid UDP-glucosyltransferase (egt) gene of Spodoptera exigua multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (SeMNPV) in tree-top disease in S. exigua larvae. Larvae infected with a mutant virus lacking the egt gene exhibited a shorter time to death and died before the induction of tree-top disease. Moreover, deletion of either the open reading frame or the ATG start codon of the egt gene prevented tree-top disease, indicating that the EGT protein is involved in this process. We hypothesize that SeMNPV EGT facilitates tree-top disease in S. exigua larvae by prolonging the larval time to death. Additionally, we discuss the role of egt in baculovirus-induced tree-top disease.
Abstract: Whiteflies of the Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) cryptic species complex are among the most important agricultural insect pests in the world. These phloem-feeding insects can colonize over 1000 species of plants worldwide and inflict severe economic losses to crops, mainly through the transmission of pathogenic viruses. Surprisingly, there is very little genomic information about whiteflies. As a starting point to genome sequencing, we report a new estimation of the genome size of the B. tabaci B biotype or Middle East-Asia Minor 1 (MEAM1) population. Using an isogenic whitefly colony with over 6500 haploid male individuals for genomic DNA, three paired-end genomic libraries with insert sizes of ~300 bp, 500 bp and 1 Kb were constructed and sequenced on an Illumina HiSeq 2500 system. A total of ~50 billion base pairs of sequences were obtained from each library. K-mer analysis using these sequences revealed that the genome size of the whitefly was ~682.3 Mb. In addition, the flow cytometric analysis estimated the haploid genome size of the whitefly to be ~690 Mb. Considering the congruency between both estimation methods, we predict the haploid genome size of B. tabaci MEAM1 to be ~680–690 Mb. Our data provide a baseline for ongoing efforts to assemble and annotate the B. tabaci genome.
Abstract: We studied the usefulness of wood- and cellulose-based diets for L. africanus Lesne. Three diets were prepared which differed on the base ingredients; wood particles (Diet 1), cellulose powder (Diet 2), and alpha-cellulose (Diet 3). The diets were provided to adult L. africanus and the number of larvae, as well as the number of adults that emerged sex ratio, and body weight of the progeny was determined. Findings indicated similar results for the number of larvae, sex ratio and body weight of the emerged L. africanus fed on each diet. However, the number of adult produced by L. africanus on Diet 3 was significantly lower. The results indicate that the amount of vital nutrients is not the only important factor in selecting a suitable diet for L. africanus because the filler used in artificial diets influences the beetles overall population growth. For the population upon which the diets were tested, Diet 1 and Diet 2 could be utilized to rear beetles in the laboratory.
Abstract: Nylanderia fulva (Mayr), the tawny crazy ant,is an invasive pest established in Florida and several other Gulf Coast states. In their invasive ranges in the Southeastern USA, large N. fulva populations have reduced species abundance, even displacing another invasive ant, Solenopsis invicta(Buren).In North Florida, N. fulva populations survive winter temperatures that reach below freezing for extended periods. However, the shallow littoral debris used by N. fulva for nest construction offers little insulation to brood and reproductives when exposed to freezing temperatures. Field populations of N. fulva in North Florida were observed tunneling below ground, a previously undescribed behavior. Other invasive ants exhibit similar subterranean tunneling behavior as a means of thermoregulation. To test the hypothesis that N. fulva has the capacity to construct subterranean tunnels across a range of ecologically relevant temperatures, tunneling performance for N. fulva and S. invicta, another invasive ant that tunnels extensively, were compared at four temperatures (15.0, 18.0, 20.0, and 22.0 °C). Overall, N. fulva tunneled significantly less than S. invicta. Nylanderia fulva tunneled furthest at warmer temperatures whereas S. invicta tunneled furthest at cooler temperatures. However, N. fulva constructed subterranean tunnels at all temperatures evaluated. These data support the hypothesis that N. fulva is capable of tunneling in temperatures as low as 15.0 °C, confirming that this ant can also perform a behavior that is used by other ants for cold avoidance.
Abstract: Mutations in the voltage-sensitive sodium channel gene (Vssc) have been identified in Aedesaegypti and some have been associated with pyrethroid insecticide resistance. Whether these mutations cause resistance, alone or in combination with other alleles, remains unclear, but must be understood if mutations are to become markers for resistance monitoring. We describe High Resolution Melt (HRM) genotyping assays for assessing mutations found in Ae. aegypti in Indonesia (F1565C, V1023G, S996P) and use them to test for associations with pyrethroid resistance in mosquitoes from Yogyakarta, a city where insecticide use is widespread. Such knowledge is important because Yogyakarta is a target area for releases of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes with virus-blocking traits for dengue suppression. We identify three alleles across Yogyakarta putatively linked to resistance in previous research. By comparing resistant and susceptible mosquitoes from bioassays, we show that the 1023G allele is associated with resistance to type I and type II pyrethroids. In contrast, F1565C homozygotes were rare and there was only a weak association between individuals heterozygous for the mutation and resistance to a type I pyrethroid. As the heterozygote is expected to be incompletely recessive, it is likely that this association was due to a different resistance mechanism being present. A resistance advantage conferred to V1023G homozygotes through addition of the S996P allele in the homozygous form was suggested for the Type II pyrethroid, deltamethrin. Screening of V1023G and S996P should assist resistance monitoring in Ae. aegypti from Yogyakarta, and these mutations should be maintained in Wolbachia strains destined for release in this city to ensure that these virus-blocking strains of mosquitoes are not disadvantaged, relative to resident populations.
Abstract: This review focuses on the process of adapting the original concept of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to the wider conception of the Integrated Fruit Production (IFP) implemented in Europe. Even though most of the pest management strategies still rely on the use of synthetic pesticides, a wide array of innovative and environmentally friendly tools are now available as possible alternative to the pesticides within the modern apple production system. We also highlight how recent pest management strategies and tools have created an opening for research towards IPM improvement, including the use of biorational pesticides, semiochemicals and biological control. Forecasting models, new tree training systems and innovative spray equipment have also been developed to improve treatment coverage, to mitigate pesticide drift and to reduce chemical residues on fruits. The possible threats that jeopardize the effective implementation of IPM and particularly the risks related to the development of the pesticide resistance and the introduction of new invasive pests are also reviewed. With the directive 128/09, the European legislation recognizes IPM as a strategic approach for the sustainable use of pesticides. Within this context, IPM and related guidelines is called to meet different areas of concern in relation to the worker and bystander safety. Beside the traditional economic criteria of the market-oriented agriculture, sustainable agriculture includes the assessment of the environmental impact of the agronomic practices within the societal context where they take place. As a consequence of the raising consumer concerns about environmental impacts generated by the fruit production, IFP certification over product standards, including process aspects, are frequently required by consumers and supermarket chains.