Special Issue "Selected Papers from the 1st International Electronic Conference on Entomology"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2022) | Viewed by 17619

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Nickolas G. Kavallieratos
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Agricultural Zoology and Entomology, Department of Crop Science, Agricultural University of Athens, 75 Iera Odos str., 11855 Attica, Greece
Interests: stored product protection; chemical control; non-chemical control; stored product insect biology and ecology; trapping and sampling
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is in cooperation with the 1st International Electronic Conference on Entomology (IECE), organized by Insects (Impact Factor 2.769) from 1 to 15 July 2021 on the MDPI Sciforum platform. We welcome submissions from participants of the conference, as well as those not participating.

All conference contributors, both to oral and poster sessions, are encouraged to submit a full paper related to their contribution to this Special Issue of Insects at https://www.mdpi.com/journal/insects, with a 20% discount on the Article Processing Charge (if accepted). Submission of a manuscript to Insects is independent of conference proceedings and will follow the standard peer-review process.

The Special Issue of Insects will maintain the topical subdivisions of the conference in the following eight fields:

•  Systematics and Morphology
•  Genetics and Genomics
•  Biology, Behavior and Physiology
•  Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution
•  Pest Management
•  Forest and Urban Entomology
•  Medical and Veterinary Entomology
•  Apiculture and Pollinators

Submitted manuscripts to Insects should fulfill the following criteria:

(1) Title and Abstract should be substantially different with that of the conference paper, so that they can be differentiated in various databases.
(2) 50% new data should be added to make it a real and complete journal paper.
(3) The length of full manuscripts should accurately meet the publication standards of Insects. For more information, please visit: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/insects/instructions.

We look forward to your novel work.

Prof. Dr. Nickolas G. Kavallieratos
Guest Editor

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Insects is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (20 papers)

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Article
Bacterial Symbionts in Ceratitis capitata
Insects 2022, 13(5), 474; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13050474 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 515
Abstract
Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae) is responsible for extensive damage in agriculture with important economic losses. Several strategies have been proposed to control this insect pest including insecticides and the Sterile Insect Technique. Traditional control methods should be implemented by innovative tools, among which [...] Read more.
Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae) is responsible for extensive damage in agriculture with important economic losses. Several strategies have been proposed to control this insect pest including insecticides and the Sterile Insect Technique. Traditional control methods should be implemented by innovative tools, among which those based on insect symbionts seem very promising. Our study aimed to investigate, through the 16S Miseq analysis, the microbial communities associated with selected organs in three different medfly populations to identify possible candidates to develop symbiont-based control approaches. Our results confirm that Klebsiella and Providencia are the dominant bacteria in guts, while a more diversified microbial community has been detected in reproductive organs. Concertedly, we revealed for the first time the presence of Chroococcidiopsis and Propionibacterium as stable components of the medfly’s microbiota. Additionally, in the reproductive organs, we detected Asaia, a bacterium already proposed as a tool in the Symbiotic Control of Vector-Borne Diseases. A strain of Asaia, genetically modified to produce a green fluorescent protein, was used to ascertain the ability of Asaia to colonize specific organs of C. capitata. Our study lays the foundation for the development of control methods for C. capitata based on the use of symbiont bacteria. Full article
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Article
Bacterial Symbionts Confer Thermal Tolerance to Cereal Aphids Rhopalosiphum padi and Sitobion avenae
Insects 2022, 13(3), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13030231 - 25 Feb 2022
Viewed by 479
Abstract
High-temperature events are evidenced to exert significant influence on the population performance and thermal biology of insects, such as aphids. However, it is not yet clear whether the bacterial symbionts of insects mediate the thermal tolerance traits of their hosts. This study is [...] Read more.
High-temperature events are evidenced to exert significant influence on the population performance and thermal biology of insects, such as aphids. However, it is not yet clear whether the bacterial symbionts of insects mediate the thermal tolerance traits of their hosts. This study is intended to assess the putative association among the chronic and acute thermal tolerance of two cereal aphid species, Rhopalosiphum padi (L.) and Sitobion avenae (F.), and the abundance of their bacterial symbionts. The clones of aphids were collected randomly from different fields of wheat crops and were maintained under laboratory conditions. Basal and acclimated CTmax and chronic thermal tolerance indices were measured for 5-day-old apterous aphid individuals and the abundance (gene copy numbers) of aphid-specific and total (16S rRNA) bacterial symbionts were determined using real-time RT-qPCR. The results reveal that R. padi individuals were more temperature tolerant under chronic exposure to 31 °C and also exhibited about 1.0 °C higher acclimated and basal CTmax values than those of S. avenae. Moreover, a significantly higher bacterial symbionts’ gene abundance was recorded in temperature-tolerant aphid individuals than the susceptible ones for both aphid species. Although total bacterial (16S rRNA) abundance per aphid was higher in S. avenae than R. padi, the gene abundance of aphid-specific bacterial symbionts was nearly alike for both of the aphid species. Nevertheless, basal and acclimated CTmax values were positively and significantly associated with the gene abundance of total symbiont density, Buchnera aphidicola, Serratia symbiotica, Hamilton defensa, Regiella insecticola and Spiroplasma spp. for R. padi, and with the total symbiont density, total bacteria (16S rRNA) and with all aphid-specific bacterial symbionts (except Spiroplasma spp.) for S. avenae. The overall study results corroborate the potential role of the bacterial symbionts of aphids in conferring thermal tolerance to their hosts. Full article
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Article
Nematodes in the Pine Forests of Northern and Central Greece
Insects 2022, 13(2), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020194 - 13 Feb 2022
Viewed by 735
Abstract
In the context of plants or plant products protection by harmful organisms, measures have been taken by EU countries in order to prevent their introduction and establishment into the EU, and also limit their expansion in case they do enter. Such a case [...] Read more.
In the context of plants or plant products protection by harmful organisms, measures have been taken by EU countries in order to prevent their introduction and establishment into the EU, and also limit their expansion in case they do enter. Such a case is Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (Parasitaphelenchidae, Nematoda), already recorded in Portugal and Spain. So, Member States should take all the appropriate steps in order to monitor and confine if necessary susceptible plants and/or plant products. Such measures include annual surveys even in countries where pine wilt disease does not occur yet. Therefore, national survey programs are widely established, sampling and examining samples from pine trees showing suspicious symptoms that could potentially be attributed to B. xylophilus. In this direction, such a network has also been established in Greece collecting and examining wood samples nationwide. In total, 123 wood samples were collected from conifer trees of Northern and Central Greece. Though B. xylophilus was absent from all samples examined, four other Bursaphelenchus species were identified. In addition, other nematode taxa were also recorded, including several phytophagous, microbivorous as well as predatory nematode species. This highlights the fact that besides preventing the introduction of B. xylophilus in Greece, national survey programs can significantly contribute to and enhance our knowledge of the indigenous nematode species. Full article
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Article
Further Evidence of Population Admixture in the Serbian Honey Bee Population
Insects 2022, 13(2), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020180 - 09 Feb 2022
Viewed by 630
Abstract
Socioeconomic interests and beekeeper preferences have often taken precedence over the conservation of locally native honey bee subspecies, leading to the predominance of admixture populations in human-dominated areas. To assess the genetic diversity of contemporary managed Serbian honey bee colonies, we used 14 [...] Read more.
Socioeconomic interests and beekeeper preferences have often taken precedence over the conservation of locally native honey bee subspecies, leading to the predominance of admixture populations in human-dominated areas. To assess the genetic diversity of contemporary managed Serbian honey bee colonies, we used 14 microsatellite loci and analyzed 237 worker bees from 46 apiaries in eight localities of northern and southern Serbia. Furthermore, we compared data for nine microsatellite loci with 338 individuals from Italy, Hungary, Poland, and Spain. The standard parameters of genetic diversity in Serbian honey bee populations were in line with other analyses, although somewhat smaller. STRUCTURE analysis showed the existence of two equally distributed genetic clusters and Analysis of molecular variances could not confirm the presence of a geographically discrete population but showed local differences. Discriminant analysis of principal components showed overlapping of worker bees from different parts of Serbia. Clear genetic differentiation can be observed when comparing all populations between geographical regions and their corresponding subspecies. The absence of the A. m. macedonica subspecies from its historical distribution range in southern Serbia as well as the lack of distinctive geographical groups suggest that selective breeding, queen import, and migratory beekeeping practices strongly influence the genetic structure and diversity of honey bees, leading to the genetic uniformization and creation of the admixture population. Full article
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Article
Half Friend, Half Enemy? Comparative Phytophagy between Two Dicyphini Species (Hemiptera: Miridae)
Insects 2022, 13(2), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020175 - 07 Feb 2022
Viewed by 506
Abstract
Despite their importance as biological control agents, zoophytophagous dicyphine mirids can produce economically important damage. We evaluated the phytophagy and potential impact on tomato plants of Dicyphus cerastii and Nesidiocoris tenuis. We developed a study in three parts: (i) a semi-field trial [...] Read more.
Despite their importance as biological control agents, zoophytophagous dicyphine mirids can produce economically important damage. We evaluated the phytophagy and potential impact on tomato plants of Dicyphus cerastii and Nesidiocoris tenuis. We developed a study in three parts: (i) a semi-field trial to characterize the type of plant damage produced by these species on caged tomato plants; (ii) a laboratory experiment to assess the effect of fruit ripeness, mirid age, and prey availability on feeding injuries on fruit; and (iii) a laboratory assay to compare the position of both species on either fruit or plants, over time. Both species produced plant damage, however, although both species produced scar punctures on leaves and necrotic patches on petioles, only N. tenuis produced necrotic rings. Both species caused flower abortion at a similar level. Overall, N. tenuis females produced more damage to tomato fruit than D. cerastii. There was an increased frequency of D. cerastii females found on the plants over time, which did not happen with N. tenuis. Our results suggested that, although D. cerastii caused less damage to fruit than N. tenuis, it still fed on them and could cause floral abortion, which requires field evaluation and caution in its use in biological control strategies. Full article
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Article
Essential Oil Coating: Mediterranean Culinary Plants as Grain Protectants against Larvae and Adults of Tribolium castaneum and Trogoderma granarium
Insects 2022, 13(2), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020165 - 03 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 858
Abstract
Postharvest agricultural losses constitute a major food security risk. In contrast, postharvest protection is strongly linked with food safety. The present study aims to develop novel postharvest protection tools through a bioprospecting protocol utilizing edible essential oils (EOs) as grain coatings. For this [...] Read more.
Postharvest agricultural losses constitute a major food security risk. In contrast, postharvest protection is strongly linked with food safety. The present study aims to develop novel postharvest protection tools through a bioprospecting protocol utilizing edible essential oils (EOs) as grain coatings. For this purpose, six Mediterranean culinary plants were selected for evaluation. The EOs of juniper, Juniperus phoenicea L. (Pinales: Cupressaceae), marjoram, Origanum majorana L. (Lamiales: Lamiaceae), oregano, Origanum vulgare ssp. hirtum (Link) A.Terracc. (Lamiales: Lamiaceae), bay laurel, Laurus nobilis L. (Laurales: Lauraceae) and tarhan, Echinophora tenuifolia ssp. sibthorpiana (Guss.) Tutin (Apiales: Apiaceae) were retrieved through steam distillation, while lemon, Citrus limon (L.) Osbeck (Sapindales: Rutaceae) EO was retrieved through cold press extraction. All EOs were formulated to microemulsions (MEs) and applied uniformly as a coating on wheat against larvae and adults of Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) and Trogoderma granarium Everts (Coleoptera: Dermestidae). All EO-based MEs have been evaluated for the first time as grain coatings. They caused moderate to high mortality to T. castaneum larvae (67.8–93.3% 14 days post-exposure) and T. granarium adults (70.0–87.8% after 7 days of exposure). Citrus limon, O. majorana and E. tenuifolia ssp. sibthorpiana EO-based MEs were the most efficient against T. castaneum larvae, by exhibiting 93.3%, 91.1% and 90.0% mortality 14 days post-exposure, respectively. Origanum majorana, L. nobilis and J. phoenicea EO-based MEs were the most efficient against T. granarium adults, exhibiting 87.8%, 84.4% and 83.3% mortality after 7 days of exposure, respectively. These results indicate that EO-based ME coating is a potent tool against the tested postharvest pests. Full article
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Article
Phenology and Potential Fecundity of Neoleucopis kartliana in Greece
Insects 2022, 13(2), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020143 - 28 Jan 2022
Viewed by 763
Abstract
Neoleucopis kartliana Tanasijtshuk (Diptera, Chamaemyiidae) is the most abundant predator of the giant pine scale (GPS), Marchalina hellenica (Hemiptera, Margarodidae) in Greece. GPS is native to Greece and Turkey, where it is not considered a pest of Pinus spp., but a valuable resource [...] Read more.
Neoleucopis kartliana Tanasijtshuk (Diptera, Chamaemyiidae) is the most abundant predator of the giant pine scale (GPS), Marchalina hellenica (Hemiptera, Margarodidae) in Greece. GPS is native to Greece and Turkey, where it is not considered a pest of Pinus spp., but a valuable resource for pine honey production. However, its introduction to new areas leads to high population densities of the scale, linked to declines in tree health and insect biodiversity. To assess the potential use of N. kartliana for a classical biological control program in Australia, we studied selected life-history traits of the silver fly, namely its phenology in northern Greece, feeding preferences of adult flies on artificial food sources, and potential fecundity of female flies. The silver fly was present in every site in northern Greece studied and was found to have at least three generations per year in this area. The fly’s overall sex ratio was 1:1, and adult females emerged with no or few mature eggs in their ovaries, but egg production was exponential until at least the eighth day after emergence. These findings increase our knowledge about the biology of N. kartliana and aided in the evaluation of the silver fly as a classical biological control agent against invasive GPS in Australia. Full article
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Article
Temperature-Specific and Sex-Specific Fitness Effects of Sympatric Mitochondrial and Mito-Nuclear Variation in Drosophila obscura
Insects 2022, 13(2), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020139 - 28 Jan 2022
Viewed by 711
Abstract
The adaptive significance of sympatric mitochondrial (mtDNA) variation and the role of selective mechanisms that maintain it are debated to this day. Isofemale lines of Drosophila obscura collected from four populations were backcrossed within populations to construct experimental lines, with all combinations of [...] Read more.
The adaptive significance of sympatric mitochondrial (mtDNA) variation and the role of selective mechanisms that maintain it are debated to this day. Isofemale lines of Drosophila obscura collected from four populations were backcrossed within populations to construct experimental lines, with all combinations of mtDNA Cyt b haplotypes and nuclear genetic backgrounds (nuDNA). Individuals of both sexes from these lines were then subjected to four fitness assays (desiccation resistance, developmental time, egg-to-adult viability and sex ratio) on two experimental temperatures to examine the role of temperature fluctuations and sex-specific selection, as well as the part that interactions between the two genomes play in shaping mtDNA variation. The results varied across populations and fitness components. In the majority of comparisons, they show that sympatric mitochondrial variants affect fitness. However, their effect should be examined in light of interactions with nuDNA, as mito-nuclear genotype was even more influential on fitness across all components. We found both sex-specific and temperature-specific differences in mitochondrial and mito-nuclear genotype ranks in all fitness components. The effect of temperature-specific selection was found to be more prominent, especially in desiccation resistance. From the results of different components tested, we can also infer that temperature-specific mito-nuclear interactions rather than sex-specific selection on mito-nuclear genotypes have a more substantial role in preserving mtDNA variation in this model species. Full article
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Article
Stress Resistance Traits under Different Thermal Conditions in Drosophila subobscura from Two Altitudes
Insects 2022, 13(2), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020138 - 28 Jan 2022
Viewed by 855
Abstract
Global warming and climate change are affecting many insect species in numerous ways. These species can develop diverse mechanisms as a response to variable environmental conditions. The rise in mean and extreme temperatures due to global warming and the importance of the population’s [...] Read more.
Global warming and climate change are affecting many insect species in numerous ways. These species can develop diverse mechanisms as a response to variable environmental conditions. The rise in mean and extreme temperatures due to global warming and the importance of the population’s ability to adapt to temperature stress will further increase. In this study, we investigated thermal stress response, which is considered to be one of the crucial elements of population fitness and survival in fast-changing environments. The dynamics and variation of thermal stress resistance traits in D. subobscura flies originating from two natural populations sampled from different altitudes were analysed. Three different temperature regimes (25 °C, 19 °C, and 16 °C) were used for the F1 progeny from both localities to establish six experimental groups and investigate stress resistance traits: desiccation resistance, heat knock-down resistance, starvation resistance, and chill-coma recovery time. We detected that laboratory thermal conditions and population origin may have an effect on the analysed traits, and that sex also significantly influences stress resistance. Individuals from the lower altitude reared at higher temperatures show inferior resistance to thermal shock. Full article
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Article
Longer mtDNA Fragments Provide a Better Insight into the Genetic Diversity of the Sycamore Lace Bug, Corythucha ciliata (Say, 1832) (Tingidae, Hemiptera), Both in Its Native and Invaded Areas
Insects 2022, 13(2), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020123 - 25 Jan 2022
Viewed by 847
Abstract
The sycamore lace bug (Corythucha ciliata Say, 1832) is of North American origin, but after its introduction to Europe (1964), South America (1985), Asia (1995), Australia (2006), and Africa (2014), it became an abundant and widespread pest on plane (Platanus spp.) [...] Read more.
The sycamore lace bug (Corythucha ciliata Say, 1832) is of North American origin, but after its introduction to Europe (1964), South America (1985), Asia (1995), Australia (2006), and Africa (2014), it became an abundant and widespread pest on plane (Platanus spp.) trees. We analysed a 1356 bp long fragment of the mtDNA (COI gene) of 327 sycamore lace bug individuals from 38 geographic locations from Europe, Asia, and North America. Seventeen haplotypes (17 HTs) were detected. C. ciliata populations from North America exhibited higher haplotype diversity (12 HTs) than populations from Europe (6 HTs), Asia (4 HTs), or Japan (2 HTs). The haplotypes formed two haplogroups separated by at least seven mutation steps. One of these mutation steps includes HTs from North America and Japan. Another includes HTs from North America, Europe, and Asia. Haplotypes from Asia Minor, the Caucasus, and Central Asia are linked to haplotypes from Europe, while haplotypes found in Japan are linked to haplotypes found in North America only. The incorporation of published data from the GenBank into our dataset (altogether 517 individuals from 57 locations, but only 546 bp long fragment of the mtDNA) did not show any structure according to the geographic origin of the individuals. Full article
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Article
The Handsome Cross Grasshopper Oedaleus decorus (Germar, 1825) (Orthoptera: Acrididae) as a Neglected Pest in the South-Eastern Part of West Siberian Plain
Insects 2022, 13(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010049 - 01 Jan 2022
Viewed by 648
Abstract
Oedaleus decorus is a widely distributed acridid over the Eurasian semi-arid territories, from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. In many semi-arid territories, O. decorus was and is the most important pest, but in the south-eastern part of West Siberian Plain, it [...] Read more.
Oedaleus decorus is a widely distributed acridid over the Eurasian semi-arid territories, from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. In many semi-arid territories, O. decorus was and is the most important pest, but in the south-eastern part of West Siberian Plain, it was not considered a pest until the 1960s. We compared two sets of data on the acridid distribution in the region: before 1960 and from 1961 until 2021. Until the 1960s, the species occurred mainly in the southern steppes. Since the 1960s, its distribution changed significantly. Nowadays, it occupies almost all local steppes and the southern part of the forest-steppes and can be also found on the eastern side of the Ob River. These shifts may be explained by both climatic changes and changes in human activities. During upsurges the densities of O. decorus were often more than one to two adults per square meter. It is often abundant in the same habitats and in the same periods as the Italian locust (Calliptamus italicus)—one of the most important acridid pests. This means during joint outbreaks these two species can simultaneously damage almost all spectrum of plants. Full article
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Article
Life History Traits in Two Drosophila Species Differently Affected by Microbiota Diversity under Lead Exposure
Insects 2021, 12(12), 1122; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12121122 - 15 Dec 2021
Viewed by 899
Abstract
Life history traits determine the persistence and reproduction of each species. Factors that can affect life history traits are numerous and can be of different origin. We investigated the influence of population origin and heavy metal exposure on microbiota diversity and two life [...] Read more.
Life history traits determine the persistence and reproduction of each species. Factors that can affect life history traits are numerous and can be of different origin. We investigated the influence of population origin and heavy metal exposure on microbiota diversity and two life history traits, egg-to-adult viability and developmental time, in Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila subobscura, grown in the laboratory on a lead (II) acetate-saturated substrate. We used 24 samples, 8 larval and 16 adult samples (two species × two substrates × two populations × two sexes). The composition of microbiota was determined by sequencing (NGS) of the V3–V4 variable regions of the 16S rRNA gene. The population origin showed a significant influence on life history traits, though each trait in the two species was affected differentially. Reduced viability in D. melanogaster could be a cost of fast development, decrease in Lactobacillus abundance and the presence of Wolbachia. The heavy metal exposure in D. subobscura caused shifts in developmental time but maintained the egg-to-adult viability at a similar level. Microbiota diversity indicated that the Komagataeibacter could be a valuable member of D. subobscura microbiota in overcoming the environmental stress. Research on the impact of microbiota on the adaptive response to heavy metals and consequently the potential tradeoffs among different life history traits is of great importance in evolutionary research. Full article
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Article
Alientoma, a Dynamic Database for Alien Insects in Greece and Its Use by Citizen Scientists in Mapping Alien Species
Insects 2021, 12(12), 1101; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12121101 - 08 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2054
Abstract
Invasive alien species have been increasingly acknowledged as a major threat to native biodiversity and ecosystem services, while their adverse impacts expand to human health, society and the economy on a global scale. Insects represent one of the most numerous alien organismic groups, [...] Read more.
Invasive alien species have been increasingly acknowledged as a major threat to native biodiversity and ecosystem services, while their adverse impacts expand to human health, society and the economy on a global scale. Insects represent one of the most numerous alien organismic groups, accounting for about one fifth of their total number. In Greece, a large number of alien insects have been identified, currently reaching 469 species. In recent decades, the contribution of citizen science towards detecting and mapping the distribution of alien insects has been steeply increasing. Addressing the need for up-to-date information on alien species as well as encouraging public participation in scientific research, the Alientoma website—derived from “alien” and the Greek word “entoma”, meaning insects, is presented. The website aims towards providing updated information on alien species of insects to the public as well as the scientific community, raising awareness about biological invasions and addressing their distribution and impacts inter alia. By maintaining a dynamic online database alongside a strong social media presence since its launch, Alientoma has attracted individuals mainly from Greece and Cyprus, interacting with the website through a total of 1512 sessions. Alientoma intends to establish a constantly increasing network of citizen scientists and to supplement early detection, monitoring and management efforts to mitigate the adverse impacts of alien insects in Greece. Full article
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Article
Immediate and Delayed Mortality of Four Stored-Product Pests on Concrete Surfaces Treated with Chlorantraniliprole
Insects 2021, 12(12), 1088; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12121088 - 04 Dec 2021
Viewed by 837
Abstract
Chlorantraniliprole is an effective pesticide against a plethora of pests, but its efficacy against stored-product pests is very poorly explored. In this study we treated concrete surfaces with four different doses of chlorantraniliprole (0.01, 0.05, 0.1, and 0.5 mg a.i./cm2) against [...] Read more.
Chlorantraniliprole is an effective pesticide against a plethora of pests, but its efficacy against stored-product pests is very poorly explored. In this study we treated concrete surfaces with four different doses of chlorantraniliprole (0.01, 0.05, 0.1, and 0.5 mg a.i./cm2) against the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) adults and larvae, the lesser grain borer, Rhyzopertha dominica (F.) (Coleoptera: Bostrychidae) adults, the rice weevil, Sitophilus oryzae (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) adults, and the flour mite, Acarus siro L. (Sarcoptiformes: Acaridae) adults and nymphs, to examine the immediate mortalities after 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 days of exposure. Additionally, the delayed mortality of the individuals that survived the 5-day exposure was also evaluated after a further 7 days on untreated concrete surfaces. We documented high mortality rates for all tested species and their developmental stages. After 5 days of exposure to 0.5 mg a.i./cm2, T. castaneum larvae and A. siro adults exhibited the highest immediate mortality levels, reaching 96.7% and 92.2%, respectively. Delayed mortality was also very high for all tested species and their developmental stages. Nymphs of A. siro displayed a 96.3% delayed mortality followed by the adults of R. dominica (98.6%) after exposure to 0.5 mg a.i./cm2. All other tested species and their developmental stages reached complete (100.0%) delayed mortality, where even 0.01 mg a.i./cm2 caused ≥86.6% delayed mortality in all species and their developmental stages. Taking into consideration the effectiveness of chlorantraniliprole on this wide range of noxious arthropods, coupled with its low toxicity towards beneficial arthropods and mammals, this pesticide could provide an effective management tool for stored-product pests in storage facilities. Full article
Article
Mealybug (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) Species Associated with Cacao Mild Mosaic Virus and Evidence of Virus Acquisition
Insects 2021, 12(11), 994; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12110994 - 04 Nov 2021
Viewed by 737
Abstract
Theobroma cacao is affected by viruses on every continent where the crop is cultivated, with the most well-known ones belonging to the Badnavirus genus. One of these, cacao mild mosaic virus (CaMMV), is present in the Americas, and is transmitted by several species [...] Read more.
Theobroma cacao is affected by viruses on every continent where the crop is cultivated, with the most well-known ones belonging to the Badnavirus genus. One of these, cacao mild mosaic virus (CaMMV), is present in the Americas, and is transmitted by several species of Pseudococcidae (mealybugs). To determine which species are associated with virus-affected cacao plants in North America, and to assess their potential as vectors, mealybugs (n = 166) were collected from infected trees in Florida, and identified using COI, ITS2, and 28S markers. The species present were Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi (38%; n = 63), Maconellicoccus hirsutus (34.3%; n = 57), Pseudococcus comstocki (15.7%; n = 26), and Ferrisia virgata (12%; n = 20). Virus acquisition was assessed by testing mealybug DNA (0.8 ng) using a nested PCR that amplified a 500 bp fragment of the movement protein–coat protein region of CaMMV. Virus sequences were obtained from 34.6 to 43.1% of the insects tested; however, acquisition did not differ among species, X2 (3, N = 166) = 0.56, p < 0.91. This study identified two new mealybug species, P. jackbeardsleyi and M. hirsutus, as potential vectors of CaMMV. This information is essential for understanding the infection cycle of CaMMV and developing effective management strategies. Full article
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Article
Species Complex and Temporal Associations between Coccinellids and Aphids in Alfalfa Stands in Spain
Insects 2021, 12(11), 971; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12110971 - 27 Oct 2021
Viewed by 533
Abstract
Alfalfa is known to be an important reservoir harboring natural enemies. The reduction in insecticide sprayings in recent years has allowed us to study the coccinellid species complex in this crop and the relationship between these predators and aphids. Alfalfa was sampled by [...] Read more.
Alfalfa is known to be an important reservoir harboring natural enemies. The reduction in insecticide sprayings in recent years has allowed us to study the coccinellid species complex in this crop and the relationship between these predators and aphids. Alfalfa was sampled by sweep-netting throughout its productive period in several commercial stands each year between 2010 and 2021. The numbers and species of aphids and coccinellids were recorded. Sixteen coccinellid species were found. Coccinella septempunctata and Hippodamia variegata were, by far, the most prevalent species, with the former dominating during the first and second intercuts, whereas the latter dominated from the third to the fifth intercut. Acyrthosiphon pisum and Therioaphis trifolii were the most abundant aphid species, peaking in the second and fourth intercuts, respectively. Positive correlations were found between the abundance of C. septempunctata and A. pisum at the second intercut, between H. variegata and T. trifolii at the fourth intercut, and between H. variegata and the total number of aphids in the fifth intercut. This study helps to increase the knowledge on the predator–prey relationships of this crop and allows for designing strategies of conservation biological control against aphids. Full article
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Article
Species Diversity and Phylogenetic Relationships of Olive Lace Bugs (Hemiptera: Tingidae) Found in South Africa
Insects 2021, 12(9), 830; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12090830 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 909
Abstract
Olive lace bugs (Hemiptera: Tingidae) are small sap-sucking insects that feed on wild and cultivated Olea europaea. The diversity of olive lace bug species in South Africa, the most important olive producer on the continent, has been incompletely surveyed. Adult specimens were [...] Read more.
Olive lace bugs (Hemiptera: Tingidae) are small sap-sucking insects that feed on wild and cultivated Olea europaea. The diversity of olive lace bug species in South Africa, the most important olive producer on the continent, has been incompletely surveyed. Adult specimens were collected in the Western Cape province for morphological and DNA-based species identification, and sequencing of complete mitogenomes. Cysteochila lineata, Plerochila australis, Neoplerochila paliatseasi and Neoplerochila sp. were found at 12 sites. Intra- and interspecific genetic divergences and phylogenetic clustering in 30 species in 18 genera of Tingidae using new and publicly available DNA barcodes showed high levels of congruity between taxonomic and genetic data. The phylogenetic position of the four species found in South Africa was inferred using new and available mitogenomes of Tingidae. Notably, olive lace bugs formed a cluster of closely related species. However, Cysteochila was non-monophyletic as C. lineata was recovered as a sister species to P. australis whereas Cysteochila chiniana, the other representative of the genus, was grouped with Trachypeplus jacobsoni and Tingis cardui in a different cluster. This result suggests that feeding on O. europaea may have a common origin in Tingidae and warrants future research on potential evolutionary adaptations of olive lace bugs to this plant host. Full article
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Article
The Interaction between Tribolium castaneum and Mycotoxigenic Aspergillus flavus in Maize Flour
Insects 2021, 12(8), 730; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12080730 - 14 Aug 2021
Viewed by 859
Abstract
Tribolium castaneum is one of the most common insect pests of stored products. Its presence makes cereals more susceptible to the spread of the fungi Aspergillus flavus, which may produce mycotoxins. The aim of this work was to evaluate the influence of [...] Read more.
Tribolium castaneum is one of the most common insect pests of stored products. Its presence makes cereals more susceptible to the spread of the fungi Aspergillus flavus, which may produce mycotoxins. The aim of this work was to evaluate the influence of T. castaneum adults on the development of a mycotoxigenic A. flavus strain in maize flour as well as the influence of this fungus on the insects. Maize flour was exposed to T. castaneum, spores of A. flavus or to both. The results revealed an interaction between T. castaneum and A. flavus as the flour exposed to both organisms was totally colonized by the fungus whereas almost all the insects were killed. Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) revealed a significantly higher concentration in the flour inoculated with both organisms (18.8 µg/kg), being lower when exposed only to A. flavus, suggesting that the presence of insects may trigger fungal development and enhance mycotoxin production. The ability of these organisms to thrive under the same conditions and the chemical compounds they release makes the interaction between them a subject of great importance to maintain the safety of stored maize. This is the first work evaluating the interaction between T. castaneum and A. flavus mycotoxin production. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Sizing the Knowledge Gap in Taxonomy: The Last Dozen Years of Aphidiinae Research
Insects 2022, 13(2), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020170 - 05 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 600
Abstract
Taxonomic impediment is one of the main roadblocks to managing the current biodiversity crisis. Insect taxonomy is the biggest contributor to the taxonomic impediment, both in terms of the knowledge gap and the lack of experts. With this study, we tried to size [...] Read more.
Taxonomic impediment is one of the main roadblocks to managing the current biodiversity crisis. Insect taxonomy is the biggest contributor to the taxonomic impediment, both in terms of the knowledge gap and the lack of experts. With this study, we tried to size the knowledge gap by analyzing taxonomical studies on the subfamily Aphidiinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) conducted from 2010 to 2021. All available taxonomic knowledge gathered in this period is critically summarized: newly described species, detection of alien species, published identification keys, etc. All findings are discussed relative to the current state of general taxonomy. Future prospects for taxonomy are also discussed. Full article
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Review
How Did Seal Lice Turn into the Only Truly Marine Insects?
Insects 2022, 13(1), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010046 - 31 Dec 2021
Viewed by 939
Abstract
Insects are the most evolutionarily and ecologically successful group of living animals, being present in almost all possible mainland habitats; however, they are virtually absent in the ocean, which constitutes more than 99% of the Earth’s biosphere. Only a few insect species can [...] Read more.
Insects are the most evolutionarily and ecologically successful group of living animals, being present in almost all possible mainland habitats; however, they are virtually absent in the ocean, which constitutes more than 99% of the Earth’s biosphere. Only a few insect species can be found in the sea but they remain at the surface, in salt marshes, estuaries, or shallow waters. Remarkably, a group of 13 species manages to endure long immersion periods in the open sea, as well as deep dives, i.e., seal lice. Sucking lice (Phthiraptera: Anoplura) are ectoparasites of mammals, living while attached to the hosts’ skin, into their fur, or among their hairs. Among them, the family Echinophthiriidae is peculiar because it infests amphibious hosts, such as pinnipeds and otters, who make deep dives and spend from weeks to months in the open sea. During the evolutionary transition of pinnipeds from land to the ocean, echinophthiriid lice had to manage the gradual change to an amphibian lifestyle along with their hosts, some of which may spend more than 80% of the time submerged and performing extreme dives, some beyond 2000 m under the surface. These obligate and permanent ectoparasites have adapted to cope with hypoxia, high salinity, low temperature, and, in particular, conditions of huge hydrostatic pressures. We will discuss some of these adaptations allowing seal lice to cope with their hosts’ amphibious habits and how they can help us understand why insects are so rare in the ocean. Full article
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