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Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080683

Abstract:
The peacock butterfly is abundant and widespread in Europe. It is generally believed to be univoltine (one generation per year): adults born in summer overwinter and reappear again in spring to reproduce. However, recent flight patterns in western Europe mostly show three peaks during the year: a first one in spring (overwintering butterflies), a second one in early summer (offspring of the spring generation), and a third one in autumn. It was thus far unclear whether this autumn flight peak was a second new generation or consisted of butterflies flying again in autumn after a summer rest (aestivation). The life cycle of one of Europe’s most common butterflies is therefore still surprisingly inadequately understood. We used hundreds of thousands of observations and thousands of pictures submitted by naturalists from the public to the online portal observation.orgin Belgium and analyzed relations between flight patterns, condition (wear), reproductive cycles, peak abundances, and phenology to clarify the current life history. We demonstrate that peacocks have shifted towards two new generations per year in recent decades. Mass citizen science data in online portals has become increasingly important in tracking the response of biodiversity to rapid environmental changes such as climate change.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080684

Abstract:
The loss of honey bees has drawn a large amount of attention in various countries. Therefore, the development of efficient methods for recovering honey bee populations has been a priority for beekeepers. Here we present an extended literature review and report on personal communications relating to the characterization of the local and bred stock of honey bees in the Russian Federation. New types have been bred from local colonies (A. mellifera L., A. m. carpatica Avet., A. m. caucasia Gorb.). The main selection traits consist of a strong ability for overwintering, disease resistance and different aptitudes for nectar collection in low and high blooming seasons. These honey bees were certified by several methods: behavioral, morphometric and genetic analysis. We illustrate the practical experience of scientists, beekeepers and breeders in breeding A. mellifera Far East honey bees with Varroa and tracheal mite resistance, which were the initial reasons for breeding the A. mellifera Far Eastern breed by Russian breeders, Russian honey bee in America, the hybrid honey bee in Canada by American breeders, and in China by Chinese beekeepers. The recent achievements of Russian beekeepers may lead to the recovery of beekeeping areas suffering from crossbreeding and losses of honey bee colonies.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080682

Abstract:
Black soldier fly (BSF, Hermetia illucens) larvae are considered as insects with a high potential to convert organic waste into high-value products. The objective of this study was to investigate the growth performance, waste reduction efficiency, and nutritional composition of BSF reared on different ratios of coconut endosperm (C) and soybean curd residue (S), with or without supplementation, compared to standard diets (Gainesville: G and starter chicken diet: CK). Seven-day-old larvae were randomly divided into eight experimental groups (G, CK, and three different ratios of C and S with or without supplementation) with three replicates with an equal weight of larvae. The supplement contained calcium, phosphorus, amino acids, and a mineral–vitamin premix which was formulated to correlate with CK. Each replicate was terminated, measured, and evaluated when 40% of larvae had reached prepupal stage. The highest larval weight gain was presented in BSF fed CK, followed by those fed coconut endosperm and soybean curd residue at a ratio of 20 : 80 (C20S80), and coconut endosperm and soybean curd residue at a ratio of 50 : 50 (C50S50) without supplementation (numbers after C and S represent their percentage in the formulation; p< 0.001). Harvesting was delayed in the BSF fed C80S20 with and without supplementation (p< 0.001). The number of total larvae and prepupae was not significantly different between groups (p > 0.05). The greatest waste reduction efficiency was observed in the G, C50S50, and C20S80 groups without supplementation (p< 0.001). All groups with supplementation had a higher proportion of ash in both larvae and prepupae compared to non-supplemented groups (p< 0.001), but lower growth performance. The highest percentage of crude protein in larvae was presented in the Gainesville and C20S80 groups followed by the CK and C50S50 groups (p< 0.001). Equal proportions of C and S without supplementation are suggested as a rearing substrate. However, growth performance was lower than for CK; therefore, further studies could investigate cost-efficient techniques to promote this parameter.
Published: 28 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080681

Abstract:
The harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis Pallas (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), is a generalist predator and an effective biocontrol agent of various insect pests that has been exploited for the control of aphid pests in the greenhouse and field. However, insecticides are widely used to control aphid pests worldwide and the potential non-target effects of sulfoxaflor and imidacloprid for controlling aphid pests towards this biocontrol agent are little known. Although both sulfoxaflor and imidacloprid act on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors of insects, sulfoxaflor has a novel chemical structure compared with neonicotinoids. We assessed the lethal, sublethal and transgenerational effects of sulfoxaflor and imidacloprid on H. axyridis simultaneously exposed via ingestion of contaminated prey and via residual contact on the host plant at LC20 and LC50 doses estimated for the cotton aphid. Imidacloprid significantly reduced the survival of H. axyridis adults compared to sulfoxaflor at the same lethal concentration against cotton aphid. Both concentrations of imidacloprid and sulfoxaflor reduced the proportion of ovipositing females, and both concentrations of imidacloprid and sulfoxaflor, except LC20 dose of sulfoxaflor, reduced the fecundity and fertility of the parental generation. In the progeny of imidacloprid- and sulfoxaflor-exposed parents, both tested LC50 concentrations significantly decreased the juvenile survival rate, and both concentrations of imidacloprid and sulfoxaflor, except LC20 dose of sulfoxaflor, prolonged the development time. Our findings provide evidence of the negative influence of imidacloprid and sulfoxaflor at low lethal concentrations on the harlequin ladybird and on the progeny of exposed individuals, i.e., transgenerational effects. Hence, these findings stress the importance of optimizing the applications of imidacloprid and sulfoxaflor for the control of aphid pests, aiming at preserving the biocontrol services provided by H. axyridis throughout the integrated pest management approach.
Published: 28 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080678

Abstract:
To explore the characteristics of mitogenomes and discuss the phylogenetic relationships and molecular evolution of the six tribes within Typhlocybinae, 11 complete mitogenomes are newly sequenced and comparatively analyzed. In all of these complete mitogenomes, the number and order of the genes are highly conserved in overall organization. The PCGs initiate with ATN/TTG/GTG and terminate with TAA/TAG/T. Almost all tRNAs are folded into the typical clover-leaf secondary structure. The control region is always variable in length and in numbers of multiple tandem repeat units. The atp8 and nad2 exhibits the highest evolution rate among all the PCGs. Phylogenetic analyses based on whole mitogenome sequences, with three different datasets, using both maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods, indicate the monophyly of Typhlocybinae and its inner tribes, respectively, except for Typhlocybini and Zyginellini that are paraphyletic. Finally, we confirm that Erythroneurini is a subtribe of Dikraneurini.
Published: 28 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080679

Abstract:
Theoretic and empirical studies show that social surroundings experienced by male insects during their larval or adult stage can influence their testicular investment in diverse ways. Although insect pupae do not feed and crawl, they can communicate using sex-specific and/or non-sex specific cues. Yet, it is unknown, in any insect, whether and how male pupae can fine-tune their resource allocation to sperm production and testis size in response to socio-sexual environments. We investigated this question using a moth, Ephestia kuehniella, which produces fertile eupyrene sperm and unfertile apyrene sperm. We held male pupae individually or in groups with different sex ratios, and dissected adults upon eclosion, measured their testis size, and counted both types of sperm. We demonstrated that after exposure to conspecific pupal cues regardless of sex, male pupae increased production of eupyrenes and apyrenes at the same rate but kept testis size unchanged. We suggest that testis size is fixed after pupation because most morphological traits are formed during the larval stage, allowing little room for pupae to adjust testis size. Like adults, male pupae with fully grown testes have sufficient resources to produce more sperm of both types according to the perceived increase in sperm competition risk.
Published: 28 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080680

Abstract:
Permanent grasslands are suitable habitats for many plant and animal species, among which are pollinating insects that provide a wide range of ecosystem services. A global crisis in pollination ecosystem service has been highlighted in recent decades, partly the result of land-use intensification. At the grassland scale, however, the underlying mechanisms of land-use intensification that affect plant–pollinator interactions and pollination remain understudied. In this review, we first synthesise the literature to provide new insights into the relationships between land-use intensification and pollination by using matching community and interaction traits. We then identify knowledge gaps and summarise how land-use intensification of grassland influences floral traits that may in turn be associated with modifications to pollinator matching traits. Last, we summarise how these modifications may affect pollination function on permanent grasslands. Overall, land-use intensification may lead to a shift in flower colour, a decrease in mean nectar tube depth and a decrease in reward production and pollen quality at the community level. This, in turn, may generate a decrease in pollinator mouthparts length and body size, that may favour pollinators that require a low amount of floral reward. We found no study citing the effect of land-use intensification on volatile organic compounds emitted by flowers despite the importance of these molecules in pollinator community composition. Overall, our review highlighted major knowledge gaps about the effects of land-use intensification on plant–pollinator interactions, and suggests that land-use intensification could favour plants with generalised floral traits that adversely affect pollination.
Published: 27 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080675

Abstract:
The cotton mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) is an extremely polyphagous invasive pest that can cause serious damages to cultivated plants. The pest is native to America but invaded Asian and Mediterranean countries during the last decades. Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill., Solanaceae) is an economic relevant crop worldwide and its production can be threatened by numerous insect pests including P. solenopsis. We recorded for the first time P. solenopsis in association with tomato in greenhouse crops and urban landscapes in Sicily (Italy) during the fall season in 2020. The species was identified as P. solenopsis based on the morphological characters and DNA amplification of an ≈800 bp portion of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (mtCOI) gene. The phylogenetic analysis among the obtained P. solenopsis mtCOI sequences with those already available in GenBank suggests Asian countries as a potential source of new introduction. This is the first record of P. solenopsis attacking tomato plants in Italy and may represent a potential threat for tomato production in Europe and nearby countries. For this reason, actions should be taken to avoid the uncontrolled spread of this alien species.
Published: 27 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080676

Abstract:
Insecticide resistance is an informative model for studying the appearance of adaptive traits. Simultaneously, understanding how many times resistance mutations originate is essential to design effective resistance management. In the mosquito Culex pipiens, target–site resistance to the insecticide diflubenzuron (DFB) has been recently found in Italian and Turkish populations. Three point mutations confer it at the codon 1043 of the chitin synthase 1 gene (chs-1): I1043L, I1043M, and I1043F. Whether the resistant mutations originated independently from different susceptible alleles or sequentially from resistant alleles and whether resistant alleles from Italy and Turkey have originated once or multiple times remain unresolved. Here, we sequenced a fragment of the chs-1 gene carrying the resistant mutations and inferred the phylogenetic relationships among susceptible and resistant alleles. Confirming previous findings, we found the three mutations in Italy and the I1043M in Turkey. Notably, the I1043F was also found for the first time in Turkish samples, highlighting the need for extensive monitoring activities. Phylogenetic analyses are consistent with an independent origin of the I1043F, I1043M, and I1043L mutations from different susceptible alleles and with multiple independent origins of the Italian and Turkish I1043M and I1043F alleles.
Published: 27 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080674

Abstract:
Noctuid moths are among the most devastating crop pests on the planet
Published: 26 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080673

Abstract:
Bumble bees are key pollinators for wild and managed plants and serve as a model system in various research fields, largely due to their commercial availability. Despite their extensive use, laboratory rearing of bumble bees is often challenging, particularly during the solitary phase queens undergo before founding a colony. Using a literature survey, we demonstrate that most studies rely on commercially available species that are provided during the colony’s social phase, limiting study on early phases of the life cycle and the ability to control for colony age and relatedness. Laboratory rearing is challenging since the queen solitary phase is less understood compared to the social phase. To overcome this barrier, we examined several aspects related to the queen solitary phase: the effect of age on likelihood of mating, how the timing of CO2 narcosis post-mating (a technique to bypass diapause) affects egg-laying, and whether different social cues affect the success of colony initiation. Our data show an optimum age for mating in both sexuals and decreased egg-laying latency in the presence of workers and pupae. The timing of CO2 narcosis did not significantly affect egg laying in queens. These findings can be incorporated to improve bumble bee rearing for research purposes.
Published: 26 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080670

Abstract:
Vanuatubasis Ober and Staniczek is a genus of damselfly endemic to Vanuatu. Little is known about the distribution and general natural history of the genus. We present the results of 14 weeks of fieldwork in Vanuatu to provide a better understanding of the biology of this genus. Specifically, we tested ecological niche models to predict the presence of Vanuatubasis throughout the region and explored how water pH may play a role in their distribution and ecology. The results of this fieldwork refined our model and further predicted the presence of this genus on additional islands. We also found stream pH as a strong predictor for the presence of Vanuatubasis, with their presence in alkaline streams significantly higher (p< 0.001). The mean pH for those streams where the genus was collected was 8.44 (n = 53).
Published: 26 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080672

Abstract:
Rearing insects on agro-industrial by-products is a sustainable strategy for the circular economy while producing valuable products for feed and foods. In this context, this study investigated the impact of larvae diet containing agro-industrial by-products on the contents of fatty acids and sterols of Ephestia kuehniella (Zeller) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), Tenebrio molitor (L.) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), and Hermetia illucens (L.) (Diptera: Stratiomyidae). For each insect, selected diets were formulated using single or combined agro-industrial by-products (i.e., apricot, brewer’s spent grain and yeast, and feed mill) and compared to a control diet. Fatty acid profiles showed differences depending on diet composition, but mostly depended on species: H. illucens was characterized by the abundance of C12:0, C16:0 and C18:2, whereas C:16, C18:1(n-9c), and C18:2(n-6c) were predominant in T. molitor and E. kuehniella. Sterols significantly varied as a function of diet composition and species. H. illucens showed low cholesterol levels and high campesterol and β sitosterol levels (0.031, 0.554 and 1.035 mg/g, respectively), whereas T. molitor and E. kuehniella had high cholesterol and low campesterol contents (1.037 and 0.078 g/kg, respectively, for T. molitor; 0.873 and 0.132 g/kg, respectively, for E. kuehniella).
Published: 23 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080669

Abstract:
Mass production of Coenosia attenuata Stein at low cost is very important for their use as a biological control agent. The present study reports the performance of C. attenuata adults when reared on Drosophila melanogaster Meigen or Bradysia impatiens (Johannsem). Different densities (6, 9, 15, 24 and 36 adults per predator) of D. melanogaster or (6, 12, 24, 36 and 48 adults per predator) of B. impatiens were used at 26 ± 1 °C, 14:10 (L:D) and 70 ± 5% RH. The results concluded that C. attenuata adults had higher fecundity, longer longevity and less wing damage when reared on B. impatiens adults compared to D. melanogaster adults. Additionally, C. attenuata adults demonstrated greater difficulty catching and carrying heavier D. melanogaster adults than lighter B. impatiens adults. In this case, 12 to 24 adults of B. impatiens daily per predator were considered optimal prey density in the mass rearing of adult C. attenuata.
Published: 22 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080665

Abstract:
In response to the threat caused by the fall armyworm to African maize farmers, we conducted a series of field release studies with the egg parasitoid Telenomus remus in Ghana. Three releases of ≈15,000 individuals each were conducted in maize plots of 0.5 ha each in the major and minor rainy seasons of 2020, and compared to no-release control plots as well as to farmer-managed plots with chemical pest control. No egg mass parasitism was observed directly before the first field release. Egg mass parasitism reached 33% in the T. remus release plot in the major rainy season, while 72–100% of egg masses were parasitized in the minor rainy season, during which pest densities were much lower. However, no significant difference in egg mass parasitism was found among the T. remus release plots, the no-release control plots and the farmer-managed plots. Similarly, no significant decrease in larval numbers or plant damage was found in the T. remus release fields compared to the no-release plots, while lower leaf and tassel damage was observed in farmer-managed plots. Larval parasitism due to other parasitoids reached 18–42% in the major rainy season but was significantly lower in the minor rainy season, with no significant differences among treatments. We did not observe significant differences in cob damage or yield among the three treatments. However, the lack of any significant differences between the release and no-release plots, which may be attributed to parasitoid dispersal during the five weeks of observation, would require further studies to confirm. Interestingly, a single application of Emamectin benzoate did not significantly affect the parasitism rates of T. remus and, thus, merits further investigation in the context of developing IPM strategies against FAW.
Published: 22 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080667

Abstract:
Drosophila suzukii, an economically important pest of small and thin-skinned fruits, has caused annual crop losses up to 20% in the state of Georgia’s multimillion-dollar blueberry industry. The known host range of D. suzukii is large, yet the breadth of uncultivated and wild plants that can serve as alternative hosts in the southeastern United States is still not fully understood. Establishing comprehensive lists of non-crop D. suzukii hosts in woodlands near blueberry production will assist in the creation of more sustainable integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. Objectives of this study were to determine viability of wild fruiting plant species to this pest based on survivorship to adulthood and assess D. suzukii short-range preference between cultivated blueberries and wild fruit. Laboratory choice and no-choice assays were performed to determine if D. suzukii could complete its development on wild fruits sampled from the field. Results from our no-choice assays indicated that multiple species of wild fruits surveyed in Georgia were viable D. suzukii hosts including blackberry species, deerberry, hillside blueberry, common pokeweed, beautyberry, elderberry, evergreen blueberry, and large gallberry. Yet, none of these hosts were preferred by adult female D. suzukii as ovipositional substrates when compared to cultivated blueberries. However, these uncultivated species have the potential to sustain D. suzukii populations pre- and post-harvest season. This information can help farmers do more targeted management of these viable alternative hosts from wooded areas surrounding blueberry fields in order to minimize D. suzukii populations.
Published: 22 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080666

Abstract:
Cordyceps, a parasitic complex of the fungus Ophiocordyceps sinensis (Berk.) (Hypocreales: Ophiocordycipitaceae) and the ghost moth Thitarodes (Lepidoptera: Hepialidae), is a historical ethnopharmacological commodity in China. Recently, artificial cultivation of Chinese cordyceps has been established to supplement the dwindling natural resources. However, much is unknown between the natural and cultivated products in terms of nutritional aspect, which may provide essential information for quality evaluation. The current study aims to determine the metabolic profiles of 17 treatments from 3 sample groups including O. sinensis fungus, Thitarodes insect and cordyceps complex, using Gas Chromatography - Quadrupole Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry. A total of 98 metabolites were detected, with 90 of them varying in concentrations among groups. The tested groups could be separated, except that fungal fruiting body was clustered into the same group as Chinese cordyceps. The main distinguishing factors for the groups studied were the 24 metabolites involved in numerous different metabolic pathways. In conclusion, metabolomics of O. sinensis and its related products were determined mainly by the fruiting bodies other than culture methods. Our results suggest that artificially cultured fruiting bodies and cordyceps may share indistinguishable metabolic functions as the natural ones.
Published: 22 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080668

Abstract:
More studies are using mitochondrial genomes of insects to explore the sequence variability, evolutionary traits, monophyly of groups and phylogenetic relationships. Controversies remain on the classification of the Mileewinae and the phylogenetic relationships between Mileewinae and other subfamilies remain ambiguous. In this study, we present two newly completed mitogenomes of Mileewinae (Mileewa rufivena Cai and Kuoh 1997 and Ujna puerana Yang and Meng 2010) and conduct comparative mitogenomic analyses based on several different factors. These species have quite similar features, including their nucleotide content, codon usage of protein genes and the secondary structure of tRNA. Gene arrangement is identical and conserved, the same as the putative ancestral pattern of insects. All protein-coding genes of U. puerana began with the start codon ATN, while 5 Mileewa species had the abnormal initiation codon TTG in ND5 and ATP8. Moreover, M. rufivena had an intergenic spacer of 17 bp that could not be found in other mileewine species. Phylogenetic analysis based on three datasets (PCG123, PCG12 and AA) with two methods (maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference) recovered the Mileewinae as a monophyletic group with strong support values. All results in our study indicate that Mileewinae has a closer phylogenetic relationship to Typhlocybinae compared to Cicadellinae. Additionally, six species within Mileewini revealed the relationship (U. puerana + (M. ponta + (M. rufivena + M. alara) + (M. albovittata + M. margheritae))) in most of our phylogenetic trees. These results contribute to the study of the taxonomic status and phylogenetic relationships of Mileewinae.
Published: 21 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080661

Abstract:
Aethina tumida is a parasite and predator of honeybee causing severe loss to the bee industry. No effective and environmentally friendly methods are available to control this pest at present. Chemosensory genes play key roles in insect behavior which can potentially be used as targets for developing environmentally friendly pest control agents. In this study, the putative chemosensory genes in antennae and forelegs of A. tumida involved in olfaction or contact chemical communication of adults were investigated using RNA transcriptome sequencing and PCR methods. Based on transcriptomic data, unigenes encoding 38 odorant receptors (ORs), 24 ionotropic receptors (IRs), 14 gustatory receptors (GRs), 3 sensory neuron membrane proteins (SNMPs), 29 odorant binding proteins (OBPs), and 22 chemosensory proteins (CSPs) were identified. The analyses of tissue expression profiles revealed that genes encoding 38 ORs, 13 antennal IRs, 11 GRs, 1 SNMP, 24 OBPs, and 12 CSPs were predominately expressed in antennae. No significant differences in expression levels of these genes were found between males and females. Genes encoding 5 non-NMDA iGluRs, 3 GRs, 2 SNMPs, 5 OBPs, and 12 CSPs were predominately expressed in forelegs. RT-PCR assays for SNMPs, OBPs and CSPs further revealed that 3 OBPs (AtumOBP3, 26 and 28) and 3 CSPs (AtumCSP7, 8 and 21) were highly expressed in antennae. Our results enrich the gene inventory of A. tumida and facilitate the discovery of potential novel targets for developing new pest control measures.
Published: 21 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080663

Abstract:
Aedes aegypti control programs require more sensitive tools in order to survey domestic and peridomestic larval habitats for dengue and other arbovirus prevention areas. As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, field technicians have faced a new occupational hazard during their work activities in dengue surveillance and control. Safer strategies to monitor larval populations, in addition to minimum householder contact, are undoubtedly urgently needed. Drones can be part of the solution in urban and rural areas that are dengue-endemic. Throughout this study, the proportion of larvae breeding sites found in the roofs and backyards of houses were assessed using drone images. Concurrently, the traditional ground field technician’s surveillance was utilized to sample the same house groups. The results were analyzed in order to compare the effectiveness of both field surveillance approaches. Aerial images of 216 houses from El Vergel village in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico, at a height of 30 m, were obtained using a drone. Each household was sampled indoors and outdoors by vector control personnel targeting all the containers that potentially served as Aedes aegypti breeding sites. The main results were that the drone could find 1 container per 2.8 found by ground surveillance; however, containers that were inaccessible by technicians in roofs and backyards, such as plastic buckets and tubs, disposable plastic containers and flowerpots were more often detected by drones than traditional ground surveillance. This new technological approach would undoubtedly improve the surveillance of Aedes aegypti in household environments, and better vector control activities would therefore be achieved in dengue-endemic countries.
Published: 21 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080664

Abstract:
Development, survival and reproduction of Ambyseius andersoni (Chant), a predatory mite widely distributed in Europe, were assessed on different food items. These included two key pests of ornamental coniferous plants, i.e., Oligonychus ununguis (Jacobi) and Pentamerismus taxi (Haller) and pollen of Pinus sylvestris L. The rationale behind these experiments was to provide a preliminary assessment of the potential of A. andersoni as a biocontrol agent of the above phytophagous arthropods and evaluate pine pollen as an alternative food source for the predator. Under laboratory conditions (23 ± 0.5 °C, 70 ± 10% RH and 16L:8D) A. andersoni was able to feed, develop and reproduce on all tested diets. The shortest development time (egg to female) was obtained when the predator fed on P. taxi (mean = 5.12 d) and the longest was on pine pollen (mean = 6.55 d). The rm value was significantly higher on both tested prey (0.166 on P. taxi and 0.160 on O. ununguis) than on pollen (0.139). Thus, we do not recommend pine pollen for mass rearing of A. andersoni; however, we conclude that pollen may provide sufficient sustenance for the predator population under field conditions when prey are absent. The potential of A. andersoni as a biocontrol agent of O. ununguis and P. taxi is discussed.
Published: 21 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12080662

Abstract:
The terrestrial land snail Theba pisana is circum-Mediterranean in native range and widely introduced and pestiferous in regions around the world. In California, USA, T. pisana has been recorded intermittently since 1914, but its source population(s) are unknown, and no morphological or molecular analyses within or between California populations have been published. Therefore, we compared molecular data (CO1, 16S, ITS2) and internal morphology (jaw, radula, reproductive system) in T. pisana collected from Los Angeles and San Diego counties in 2019–2020. DNA barcode (CO1 mtDNA) analysis revealed that T. pisana from Los Angeles County was most similar to T. pisana from the Mediterranean island of Malta, and northern San Diego County-collected specimens were most similar to T. pisana from Morocco. Morphology of the jaw and mucous glands also differed between Los Angeles and San Diego populations, but it is unclear if traits are lineage-specific or artifacts of ontogeny. Several pathways of introduction into Southern California are possible for this species, but evidence for intentional vs. accidental introduction of present populations is lacking. Subsequent investigation(s) could use the data generated herein to assess the provenance of T. pisana elsewhere in California and/or worldwide and inform analyses of reproductive biology and systematics in this widespread species.
Published: 20 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070658

Abstract:
Ticks (Arachnida: Acari) are common in Oklahoma and may transmit tick-borne diseases (TBDs) to people. Due to the difficulty in reducing tick populations, awareness of tick bite prevention, proper tick removal, and knowledge of when to seek medical treatment are critical. However, outreach and extension programs are hampered by a lack of knowledge of what community members know about ticks. To address this limitation, we surveyed college students enrolled in three non-major Entomology courses at Oklahoma State University in 2018. Of the 483 students invited to take a survey, 224 (46.4%) students took both surveys. Pre-survey responses indicated lower levels of knowledge of tick biology compared to post-survey responses. For both pre- and post-survey respondents, “ticks can jump” and “ticks reside up in trees” received the fewest correct responses. A majority of survey respondents considered Lyme disease to be the predominant TBD in Oklahoma, although it is not established in Oklahoma. Supplemental education overcame these knowledge gaps, with the exception of knowledge of Lyme disease which was still considered to be the predominant TBD in the post-survey. Our results can be used to develop assessment tools to improve extension programs and enhance protection from TBDs.
Published: 20 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070660

Abstract:
The two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch is a major agricultural pest worldwide and is known to rapidly develop resistance to pesticides. In the present study, we explored a field strain that was collected in 2000 and 2003 and has been exhibiting resistance to etoxazole and pyridaben over the last 16 years. The resistance ratios of the etoxazole- and pyridaben-resistant strains (ER and PR) to etoxazole or pyridaben were more than 5,000,000- and 4109.6-fold higher than that of the susceptible strain, respectively. All field-collected populations showed resistance to etoxazole and pyridaben. The ER and PR strains showed cross-resistance to several acaricides. Both I1017F and H92R point mutations were detected in 7 out of 8 field groups. Spirodiclofen and spiromesifen resulted in more than 77.5% mortality in the 8 field groups. In addition, the genotype frequency of the I1017F point mutation was 100.0% in the ER strain, and that of the H92R point mutation was 97.0% in the PR strain. All of the field populations were found to have a high frequency of I1017F. These results suggest that the observation of resistance patterns will help in designing a sustainable IPM program for T. urticae.
Published: 20 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070657

Abstract:
Temporary aquatic habitats are contingent on the allochthonous inputs of plant and animal detritus, whose quality and availability can significantly affect the species developing in these habitats. Although animal detritus (i.e., invertebrate carcasses) is a high-quality food, it is an unpredictable and variable resource. On the contrary, conspecific individuals (dead or alive) are a nutritionally high-quality food source that is always available. In this context, conspecifics consumption, by cannibalism or necrophagy, can be a good strategy to overcome nutrient limitation and allow individual maintenance and development. Here, we tested this hypothesis by using the tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus. By carrying out laboratory and semi-field experiments, we first estimated the relative rate of cannibalism and necrophagy, under different larval densities. Then, we analyzed the effects of cannibalism and necrophagy on larval survival and adult yield. Consistent with our hypothesis, we found that cannibalism and necrophagy occurred under all experimental conditions, and that conspecific consumption had positive effects on individual development, as it significantly increased the rate of adult emergence and larval survival. Interestingly, about 50% of the initial cohort was consumed by conspecifics, suggesting that cannibalism and necrophagy can drive an important resources loop in temporary aquatic habitats.
Published: 20 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070659

Abstract:
Meligethes (Odonthogethes) chinensis is a common Chinese phytophagous species in the family Nitidulidae. Its main larval host plant is Rubus idaeus L. (Rosaceae), and adults feed on pollen and other floral parts. In this study, we used scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to observe and study the fine morphology of sensilla on the antennae and mouthparts of M. chinensis. The results show that there are six types and twelve subtypes of sensilla on male antennae; seven types and fourteen subtypes on female antennae; seven types and seventeen subtypes on male mouthparts; seven types and sixteen subtypes on female mouthparts. Sensilla coeloconica (SCo) are found on the female antennae of M. chinensis only, and they are also reported on the antennae of Nitidulidae for the first time. SCo2 on the labrum present sexual dimorphism, and one subtype of sensilla basiconica (SB6) is presented on the tip of maxillary and labial palps of the male only, while other types of sensilla are very similar on the mouthparts of male and female. Finally, by comparing similar sensilla in other insects, we also attempted to discuss the functions of all sensilla on the antennae and mouthparts of M. chinensis.
Published: 19 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070656

Abstract:
We determined 15 complete and two nearly complete mitogenomes of Heptageniidae belonging to three subfamilies (Heptageniinae, Rhithrogeninae, and Ecdyonurinae) and six genera (Afronurus, Epeorus, Leucrocuta, Maccaffertium, Stenacron, and Stenonema). Species of Rhithrogeninae and Ecdyonurinae had the same gene rearrangement of CR-I-M-Q-M-ND2, whereas a novel gene rearrangement of CR-I-M-Q-NCR-ND2 was found in Heptageniinae. Non-coding regions (NCRs) of 25–47 bp located between trnA and trnR were observed in all mayflies of Heptageniidae, which may be a synapomorphy for Heptageniidae. Both the BI and ML phylogenetic analyses supported the monophyly of Heptageniidae and its subfamilies (Heptageniinae, Rhithrogeninae, and Ecdyonurinae). The phylogenetic results combined with gene rearrangements and NCR locations confirmed the relationship of the subfamilies as (Heptageniinae + (Rhithrogeninae + Ecdyonurinae)). To assess the effects of low-temperature stress on Heptageniidae species from Ottawa, Canada, we found 27 positive selection sites in eight protein-coding genes (PCGs) using the branch-site model. The selection pressure analyses suggested that mitochondrial PCGs underwent positive selection to meet the energy requirements under low-temperature stress.
Published: 19 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070655

Abstract:
The ladybird Cryptolaemus montrouzieri and the green lacewing Chrysoperla carnea have shown potential for use in augmentative biological control of mealybug pests in greenhouse crops. In the context of combining these predators within an integrated pest management system, the risk of negative intraguild interactions between both predators was evaluated in a laboratory setting. Different life stages of either predator were confronted in petri dish arenas containing a Ficus benjamina leaf, and after 24 h the incidence and direction of intraguild predation (IGP) was recorded for each combination. The effect of adding Planococcus citri nymphs or Ephestia kuehniella eggs as extraguild prey on the level of IGP was also studied. IGP was frequently observed between the two predator species and was asymmetrical in favour of C. carnea in most cases. The presence of extraguild prey reduced the number of IGP events between the predators to a similar extent. The relevance of the observed intraguild interactions for the combined use of these predators in protected cultivation is discussed.
Published: 17 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070653

Abstract:
Honey bee (Apis mellifera) health is impacted by viral infections at the colony, individual bee, and cellular levels. To investigate honey bee antiviral defense mechanisms at the cellular level we further developed the use of cultured primary cells, derived from either larvae or pupae, and demonstrated that these cells could be infected with a panel of viruses, including common honey bee infecting viruses (i.e., sacbrood virus (SBV) and deformed wing virus (DWV)) and an insect model virus, Flock House virus (FHV). Virus abundances were quantified over the course of infection. The production of infectious virions in cultured honey bee pupal cells was demonstrated by determining that naïve cells became infected after the transfer of deformed wing virus or Flock House virus from infected cell cultures. Initial characterization of the honey bee antiviral immune responses at the cellular level indicated that there were virus-specific responses, which included increased expression of bee antiviral protein-1 (GenBank: MF116383) in SBV-infected pupal cells and increased expression of argonaute-2 and dicer-like in FHV-infected hemocytes and pupal cells. Additional studies are required to further elucidate virus-specific honey bee antiviral defense mechanisms. The continued use of cultured primary honey bee cells for studies that involve multiple viruses will address this knowledge gap.
Published: 17 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070654

Abstract:
Kissing bugs readily enter homes in the Sonoran Desert and bite the residents. Their saliva is highly antigenic, causing local and systemic skin reactions and life-threatening anaphylaxis. We attempted to determine what characteristics of homesites may have contributed to home intrusion by kissing bugs. Extensive and detailed information about the homes and the home environment was collected from 78 homeowners in Tucson who suffered kissing bug intrusions. Homeowners collected 298 Triatoma rubida in and around their homes. Of the homes entered by kissing bugs, 29 of 46 (63%) contained bugs harboring Trypanosoma cruzi. Although in the aggregate, homeowners were bitten > 2200 times, no individual tested positive for Chagas disease (N = 116). Although yearly intrusion likely occurs in some homes, T. rubida does not domiciliate within homesites in the Desert Southwest. We conclude there is little risk to homeowners for Chagas disease given the current behavior of resident kissing bugs and absent ingesting kissing bug fecal matter.
Published: 16 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070650

Abstract:
Falcomurus Mandal is currently a monotypic genus of Heteromurinae described from India in 2018. Its key characters are the first antennal segment subdivided, the second undivided and the third annulated; the first abdominal segment lacking macrochaetae; and the presence of a sinuous modified macrochaeta on the proximal dens. Some details of its morphology were recently put in doubt, and so its genus status and affinities remain uncertain. Here, we revise the genus based on the type material of Dicranocentrus litoreus Mari-Mutt, as well as provide the description of two new species from Australian archipelagos and a reinterpretation of the chaetotaxy of Falcomurus chilikaensis Mandal and D. halophilus Mari-Mutt. After our revision, Falcomurus shows a well-conserved chaetotaxy and overall morphology, which allowed us to provide an updated generic diagnosis. While the antennae morphology of Falcomurus resembles that of Dicranocentrus Schött, its dorsal sensillar and macrochaetotaxy suggest it is closely related to Heteromurus Wankel, as originally stated by Mandal. The main features useful to separate Falcomurus species are the head, mesothorax and fourth abdominal segment chaetotaxy. We also provide a key to its five species, a comparative table and notes on the affinities and distribution of Falcomurus.
Published: 16 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070652

Abstract:
In Pakistan, Apis cerana, the Asian honeybee, has been used for honey production and pollination services. However, its genomic makeup and phylogenetic relationship with those in other countries are still unknown. We collected A. cerana samples from the main cerana-keeping region in Pakistan and performed whole genome sequencing. A total of 28 Gb of Illumina shotgun reads were generated, which were used to assemble the genome. The obtained genome assembly had a total length of 214 Mb, with a GC content of 32.77%. The assembly had a scaffold N50 of 2.85 Mb and a BUSCO completeness score of 99%, suggesting a remarkably complete genome sequence for A. cerana in Pakistan. A MAKER pipeline was employed to annotate the genome sequence, and a total of 11,864 protein-coding genes were identified. Of them, 6750 genes were assigned at least one GO term, and 8813 genes were annotated with at least one protein domain. Genome-scale phylogeny analysis indicated an unexpectedly close relationship between A. cerana in Pakistan and those in China, suggesting a potential human introduction of the species between the two countries. Our results will facilitate the genetic improvement and conservation of A. cerana in Pakistan.
Published: 16 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070651

Abstract:
With the widespread application of insecticides, parasitoid wasps may also be under risk when exposed to insecticides directly at their free-living stages. The endoparasitoid wasp Meteorus pulchricornis is the predominant natural enemy of many lepidopteran pests, such as Spodoptera litura and Helicoverpa armigera. The cytochrome P450 monooxygenases constitute a ubiquitous and complex superfamily of hydrophobic, haem-containing enzymes. P450s are involved in the detoxification of many xenobiotics. However, their exact roles in the tolerance mechanism in parasitoids toward insecticides has received less attention. Here, 28 P450 genes in M. pulchricornis were identified from a previously constructed transcriptome dataset. These P450 genes belonged to CYP2, -3, and -4, and mitochondrial clans. Subsequently, eight candidate MpulCYPs were selected from four CYP clans to validate their expression patterns under phoxim, cypermethrin, and chlorfenapyr exposure by qRT-PCR. The results showed that all three insecticides had significant effects on the expression of MpulCYPs. To further study the function of P450s, CYP369B3 was silenced, and its expression levels of CYP369B3 were significantly decreased. Survival analysis indicated that after dsRNA injection, the mortality rate of wasps was significantly increased when M. pulchricornis females were exposed to insecticides compared to control groups. Our findings provide a theoretical base for elucidating the mechanism of insecticide tolerance and promote functional research on P450 genes in parasitoid wasps.
Published: 15 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070645

Abstract:
In Europe, one of the most significant mosquitoes of public health importance is Aedes albopictus (Skuse), an allochthonous species of Asian origin. One of the most promising control methods against Aedes albopictus is the sterile insect technique (SIT), which consists of mass rearing the target species, separation of males from females, and male exposure to sterilizing ionizing radiation. Once released in the environment, the sterile males are expected to search for wild females to mate with. If mating occurs, no offspring is produced. The quality of sterile males is a crucial aspect in SIT programs in order to optimize effectiveness and limit production costs. The integration of probiotic microorganisms in larval and adult mosquito diets could enhance the quality parameters of the released sterile males. In this review, we attempt to give the most representative picture of the present knowledge on the relationships between gut microbiota of mosquitoes and the natural or artificial larval diet. Furthermore, the possible use of probiotic microorganisms for mosquito larvae rearing is explored. Based on the limited amount of data found in the literature, we hypothesize that a better understanding of the interaction between mosquitoes and their microbiota may bring significant improvements in mosquito mass rearing for SIT purposes.
Published: 15 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070648

Abstract:
The Locard′s exchange principle (1930) holds that the perpetrator of a crime leaves traces behind that can later be sampled and used as forensic evidence
Published: 15 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070647

Abstract:
Temperature is particularly important for ectotherms, including endoparasitoid wasps that develop inside another ectotherm host. In this study, we tested the impact of three temperatures (20 °C, 25 °C and 30 °C) on the host–parasitoid immune interaction using two Drosophila host species (Drosophila melanogaster and D. yakuba) and two parasitoid lines of Leptopilina boulardi. Drosophila’s immune defense against parasitoids consists of the formation of a melanized capsule surrounding the parasitoid egg. To counteract this response, Leptopilina parasitoids rely on the injection of venom during oviposition. Here, we tested the effect of temperature on parasitic success and host encapsulation capacity in response to a parasitoid egg or other foreign body. Increased temperature either promoted or did not affect the parasitic success, depending on the parasitoid–host pairs considered. The mechanisms behind the higher success seemed to vary depending on whether the temperature primarily affected the host immune response or also affected the parasitoid counter-immune response. Next, we tested the effect of parasitoid rearing temperature on its success and venom composition. Venom composition varied strongly with temperature for both parasitoid lines, partially consistent with a change in their parasitic success. Overall, temperature may have a significant impact on the host–parasitoid immune interaction.
Published: 15 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070643

Abstract:
Sexually antagonistic selection (SAS) occurs when distinct alleles are differentially selected in each sex. In the invasive tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva, a genomic region is under SAS, while the rest of the genome is randomly selected in males and females. In this study, we designed a suite of 15 microsatellite markers to study the origin and evolution of SAS in N. fulva. These SAS markers were polymorphic, with allelic frequencies that are highly different between males and females. All haploid males carry only a subset of the alleles present in the population, while females are reliably heterozygous, with one allele from the male gene pool and a different allele inherited from their mother. In addition, we identified six polymorphic markers not associated with SAS and six markers yielding consistent, yet monomorphic, amplification in the introduced range of this species. Reaction condition optimizations allowed all retained markers to be co-amplified in four PCR mixes. The SAS markers may be used to test for the strength and the extent of the genomic regions under SAS in both the native and introduced ranges of N. fulva, while the set of non-SAS loci may be used to assess the invasion route of this species. Overall, the application of these microsatellite markers will yield insights into the origin and evolution of SAS within and among species of the genus Nylanderia.
Published: 15 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070644

Abstract:
Changes during leaf ontogeny affect palatability to herbivores, such that many insects, including the eastern spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana (Clem.)), are specialist feeders on growing conifer leaves and buds. Developmental constraints imply lower toughness in developing foliage, and optimal defense theory predicts higher investment in chemical defense in these vulnerable yet valuable developing leaves. We summarize the literature on the time course of defensive compounds in developing white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) needles and report original research findings on the ontogeny of white spruce needle toughness. Our results show the predicted pattern of buds decreasing in toughness followed by leaves increasing in toughness during expansion, accompanied by opposite trends in water content. Toughness of mature foliage decreased slightly during the growing season, with no significant relationship with water content. Toughness of sun-grown leaves was slightly higher than that of shade-grown leaves. However, the literature review did not support the expected pattern of higher defensive compounds in expanding leaves than in mature leaves, suggesting that white spruce might instead exhibit a fast-growth low-defense strategy.
Published: 15 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070646

Abstract:
The world-wide, rapid urbanization is leading to substantial changes in environmental and habitat conditions. These changes, as well as disturbances accompanying urbanization have considerable effects at various levels of the biological organization on wildlife. Understanding behavioral responses to such changes is essential for identifying which organisms may successfully adapt to the altered conditions. In this study, individuals of a forest specialist ground beetle, Carabus convexus, from rural and urban forest patches were tested for their exploratory and risk-taking behavior. Beetles responded consistently in the different contexts; furthermore, by behaving consistently over time, demonstrated that they had personalities. Agglomerative cluster analysis identified two groups of behavioral traits: the exploratory and the risk-taking dimension of personality. Urban females were significantly more exploratory than urban males which can be an adaptation to find high quality food needed to mature eggs in urban habitats, as well as to select favorable microsites for oviposition. Moreover, urban females and males showed more risk-taking behavior than rural females. Urban beetles with more risk-taking behavior may be better able to cope with frequent urbanization-driven disturbance events.
Published: 15 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070649

Abstract:
Many insect species display a remarkable ability to produce discrete phenotypes in response to changes in environmental conditions. Such phenotypic plasticity is referred to as polyphenism. Seasonal, dispersal and caste polyphenisms correspond to the most-studied examples that are environmentally-induced in insects. Cues that induce such dramatic phenotypic changes are very diverse, ranging from seasonal cues, habitat quality changes or differential larval nutrition. Once these signals are perceived, they are transduced by the neuroendocrine system towards their target tissues where gene expression reprogramming underlying phenotypic changes occur. Epigenetic mechanisms are key regulators that allow for genome expression plasticity associated with such developmental switches. These mechanisms include DNA methylation, chromatin remodelling and histone post-transcriptional modifications (PTMs) as well as non-coding RNAs and have been studied to various extents in insect polyphenism. Differential patterns of DNA methylation between phenotypes are usually correlated with changes in gene expression and alternative splicing events, especially in the cases of dispersal and caste polyphenism. Combinatorial patterns of histone PTMs provide phenotype-specific epigenomic landscape associated with the expression of specific transcriptional programs, as revealed during caste determination in honeybees and ants. Alternative phenotypes are also usually associated with specific non-coding RNA profiles. This review will provide a summary of the current knowledge of the epigenetic changes associated with polyphenism in insects and highlights the potential for these mechanisms to be key regulators of developmental transitions triggered by environmental cues.
Published: 14 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070639

Abstract:
Recent changes in insect distribution are consistent with the expected interacting effects of climate and habitat change. The orthopteran Ruspolia nitidula has expanded its area of distribution in Western and Central Europe in recent decades. Because males emit a sound that is easily detected at a distance of up to 40 m, it is possible to detect spreading individuals and to therefore document routes and rates of spread. Using occurrence data at the landscape scale and three methods, including least-cost path analysis with habitat suitability, we estimated the R. nitidula expansion rate from 2006 to 2020 in the Czech Republic; this involved estimating distances between two origin occurrences in 2006 and two occurrences on the area margin in 2020. For comparison, we directly monitored expansion based on detection of singing males at the regional scale at the areal margin in the Odra River basin (2016–2020). The estimated maximum expansion rate ranged from 13.8 to 16.2 km/year based on occurrence data at the landscape scale and from 11.1 to 11.7 km/year based on the monitoring of males in the Odra River basin. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the direct monitoring of individual spreading males to detect changes in the distribution of an orthopteran.
Published: 14 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070641

Abstract:
Mitochondrial DNA variations of Peruvian honey bee populations were surveyed by using the tRNAleu-cox2 intergenic region. Only two studies have characterized these populations, indicating the presence of Africanized honey bee colonies in different regions of Peru and varied levels of Africanization, but the current status of its genetic diversity is unknown. A total of 512 honey bee colonies were sampled from three regions to characterize them. Our results revealed the presence of European and African haplotypes: the African haplotypes identified belong to sub-lineage AI (13) and sub-lineage AIII (03), and the European haplotypes to lineages C (06) and M (02). Of 24 haplotypes identified, 15 new sequences are reported here (11 sub-lineage AI, 2 sub-lineage AIII, and 2 lineage M). Peruvian honey bee populations presented a higher proportion from African than European haplotypes. High proportions of African haplotype were reported for Piura and Junín, unlike Lima, which showed more European haplotypes from lineage C. Few colonies belonging to lineage M would represent accidental purchase or traces of the introduction into Peru in the 19th century.
Published: 14 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070640

Abstract:
Hemocytes, the cells present in the hemolymph of insects and other invertebrates, perform several physiological functions, including innate immunity. The current classification of hemocyte types is based mostly on morphological features; however, divergences have emerged among specialists in triatomines, the insect vectors of Chagas’ disease (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). Here, we have combined technical approaches in order to characterize the hemocytes from fifth instar nymphs of the triatomine Dipetalogaster maxima. Moreover, in this work we describe, for the first time, the ultrastructural features of D. maxima hemocytes. Using phase contrast microscopy of fresh preparations, five hemocyte populations were identified and further characterized by immunofluorescence, flow cytometry and transmission electron microscopy. The plasmatocytes and the granulocytes were the most abundant cell types, although prohemocytes, adipohemocytes and oenocytes were also found. This work sheds light on a controversial aspect of triatomine cell biology and physiology setting the basis for future in-depth studies directed to address hemocyte classification using non-microscopy-based markers.
Published: 14 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070642

Abstract:
In general, sperm produced in the testis are moved into the seminal vesicle via the vas deferens in insects, where they are stored. How this sperm movement is controlled is less well understood in locusts or grasshoppers. In this study, the effects of age, phase variation and pheromones on male sperm storage were investigated in the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria (Forskål). In this locust, a pair of ducts, the vasa deferentia, connect the testes to a pair of the long, slender seminal vesicles that are folded approximately thirty times, and where the sperm are stored. We found that phase variation affected the level of sperm storage in the seminal vesicle. Moreover, adult males that detected pheromones emitted by mature adult males showed enhanced sperm storage compared with males that received the pheromones emitted from nymphs: The former, adult male pheromones are known to promote sexual maturation of immature adults of both sexes, whereas the latter, nymphal pheromones delay sexual maturation. Most mature adult males had much sperm in the vasa deferentia at all times examined, suggesting daily sperm movement from the testes to the seminal vesicles via the vasa deferentia. As adult males aged, sperm were accumulated from the proximal part to the distal end of the seminal vesicle. Many sperm remained in the seminal vesicle after mating. These results suggest that young or new sperm located near the proximal part of the seminal vesicle could be used for mating, whereas old sperm not used for mating are stored in the distal part of the seminal vesicle.
Published: 13 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070633

Abstract:
In this work, the chemical compositions of basils oils, including those of lemon basil, white holy basil, Thai basil, tree basil and red holy basil, were analysed. Methyl eugenol was detected in all types of basils. The essential oils of red and white holy basils possessed a comparable ability (~25%) to attract male Oriental fruit fly to the synthesised fruit fly attractant in the laboratory experiment. To control the release of the active ingredients, the white holly basil oil (WBO) was encapsulated with maltodextrin (MD) and gum arabic (GA) by paste method. The essential oil is retained in the wall complex much longer with the addition of MD. The results also revealed that the combination of the MD:GA (25:75) had the highest loading efficiency of the oil (9.40%) as observed by the numerous porous structures by scanning electron microscopy. Fourier-transform infrared spectra of the encapsulated polymer confirmed traces of essential oil functional groups. The field test study advised that WBO-encapsulated products improved fruit fly attractive efficiency by maintaining the release rate of basil essential oil.
Published: 13 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070634

Abstract:
RNA-interference (RNAi) is a standard technique for functional genomics in adult mosquitoes. However, RNAi in immature, aquatic mosquito stages has been challenging. Several studies have shown successful larval RNAi, usually in combination with a carrier molecule. Except for one study in malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, none of the previous studies has explored RNAi in mosquito pupae. Even in the study that used RNAi in pupae, double stranded RNA (dsRNA) was introduced by microinjection. Here, we describe a successful method by soaking pupae in water containing dsRNA without any carrier or osmotic challenge. The knockdown persisted into adulthood. We expect that this simple procedure will be useful in the functional analysis of genes that highly express in pupae or newly emerged adults.
Published: 13 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070635

Abstract:
Drosophila suzukii, Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD), is a serious economic issue for thin-skinned fruit farmers. The invasion of this dipteran is mainly counteracted by chemical control methods; however, it would be desirable to replace them with biological control. All assays were performed with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), Xenorhabdus nematophila (Xn), and Xn secretions, administered orally in single or combination, then larval lethality was assessed at different times. Gut damage caused by Bt and the influence on Xn into the hemocoelic cavity was also evaluated. In addition, the hemolymph cell population was analyzed after treatments. The data obtained show that the combined use of Bt plus Xn secretions on larvae, compared to single administration of bacteria, significantly improved the efficacy and reduced the time of treatments. The results confirm the destructive action of Bt on the gut of SWD larvae, and that Bt-induced alteration promotes the passage of Xn to the hemocoel cavity. Furthermore, hemocytes decrease after bioinsecticides treatments. Our study demonstrates that combining bioinsecticides can improve the efficacy of biocontrol and such combinations should be tested in greenhouse and in field in the near future.
Published: 13 July 2021
by MDPI
Insects, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/insects12070638

Abstract:
Although most insect species have a beneficial role in the ecosystems, some of them represent major plant pests and disease vectors for livestock and humans. During the last six–seven decades, the sterile insect technique (SIT) has been used as part of area-wide integrated pest management strategies to suppress, contain, locally eradicate or prevent the (re)invasion of insect pest populations and disease vectors worldwide. This Special Issue on “Sterile insect technique (SIT) and its applications”, which consists of 27 manuscripts (7 reviews and 20 original research articles), provides an update on the research and development efforts in this area. The manuscripts report on all the different components of the SIT package including mass-rearing, development of genetic sexing strains, irradiation, quality control as well as field trials.
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