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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Epidemiology and Management of Pierce's Disease and Other Maladies of Grape

Location: Crop Diseases, Pests and Genetics

Title: The Leafhoppers: Anatomy, Physiology and Behavior of Feeding and Its Sensory Mediation

Authors
item Backus, Elaine
item Wayadande, Astri -

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Leafhoppers (insects in the order Hemiptera, family Cicadellidae) are among the most diverse and numerous plant-feeding animals in grasslands and other ecosystems worldwide. Many species also are agriculturally significant pests worldwide, especially on crops in the tropics, due to the ability to either transmit plant pathogens or cause severe injury during feeding. Despite ecological and agricultural importance, pest management of leafhoppers has been hampered by difficulty identifying species and lack of a readily available summary of up-to-date knowledge on leafhopper biology. The present book combines the first worldwide key to the more than 40 groups of leafhoppers, a list of all known names, and is organized into chapters summarizing all major aspects of leafhopper biology, including successful pest management tactics. The present chapter provides a review of the forms and functions of important organs (including sensory organs) and behaviors involved in leafhopper feeding. In leafhoppers, two pairs of piercing-sucking mouthparts are interconnected to form a single tube-like bundle that penetrates the plant. Fluid is brought to the foregut where it is tasted, rinsed in and out, and eventually swallowed. Saliva, often containing plant pathogens, is injected into plants during feeding. Structures and functions of sensory organs inside the mouthparts and along the foregut are reviewed. Feeding behaviors, including those identified via electrical penetration graph (EPG) technology are divided into three different feeding guilds and two strategies, which are then described and related to types of plant damage or pathogen transmission mechanisms. With temperatures increasing globally, pest leafhopper species are invading new geographical regions and bringing plant pathogens with them. Timely control of invading species will be aided by proper identification and with in-depth knowledge of the pest control methods implemented within the native range of the invader.

Technical Abstract: The present book contains chapters summarizing all major aspects of the biology of leafhoppers (family Cicadellidae), among the most numerous and important insect pests in the world. Major chapter topics discussed include internal and external morphology, physiology, behavior, reproduction, taxonomy, phylogeny, ecology, fossil history, host plant relationships, natural enemies, mechanisms of both plant injury and transmission of plant pathogens, and successful pest management tactics. The book also has the first worldwide key to the more than 40 subfamilies of Cicadellidae, as well as a list of all known genera. The present chapter provides a review of the anatomy, physiology (including sensory mechanisms) and behaviors involved in leafhopper feeding. In leafhoppers, two pairs of piercing-sucking mouthparts are interconnected to form a single stylet fascicle that penetrates the plant. Fluid is brought up the food canal to the anterior functional foregut where it is tasted, rinsed in and out, and eventually swallowed. Saliva, often containing plant pathogens, is injected into plants during feeding. Anatomy and physiology of sensory organs inside the stylets and along the foregut are reviewed. Feeding behaviors, especially those identified via electrical penetration graph (EPG) technology are: 1) divided into three different feeding guilds (specializing in phloem, xylem or mesophyll plant tissues) and two strategies (sheath-feeding and cell rupture-feeding), 2) described, and 3) related to the types of plant damage or pathogen transmission mechanisms known. With the advent of global climate change, invasive pest leafhopper species are moving into new habitats and bringing disruptive plant pathogens with them. Timely management of invasive species will be aided by proper identification of species, as well as in-depth knowledge of pest management methods employed in the native range. Understanding mechanisms of feeding behavior will be useful in the development of host plant resistance.

Last Modified: 11/21/2014
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