ISSN / EISSN : 2075-4450 / 2075-4450
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 1,977
Latest articles in this journal
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11120840
Numerous gut microbes are associated with insects, but their composition remains largely unknown for many insect groups, along with factors influencing their composition. Here, we compared gut bacterial microbiota of two co-occurring agricultural pests, the peach fruit moth (PFM), Carposina sasakii, and the oriental fruit moth (OFM), Grapholita molesta, collected from different orchards and host plant species. Gut microbiota of both species was mainly composed of bacteria from Proteobacteria, followed by Firmicutes. The two species shared bacteria from the genera Pseudomonas, Gluconobacter, Acetobacter, and Pantoea. When we compared two pairs of PFM and OFM populations collected from the same host species and the same orchard, there is no difference in alpha and beta diversity in gut microbiota. When we compared gut microbiota of the same species and host plant from different orchards, alpha and beta diversity was different in populations of PFM collected from two pear orchards but not in other comparisons. Our study suggests that the two pests share many features of gut microbiota and environment in orchards is a main factor influencing their gut microbiota.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11120844
Ambrosia artemisiifolia is a noxious invasive alien weed, that is harmful to the environment and human health. Ophraella communa is a biocontrol agent for A. artemisiifolia, that was accidentally introduced to the Chinese mainland and has now spread throughout southern China. Recently, we found that upon artificial introduction, O. communa can survive in northern China as well. Therefore, it is necessary to study the cold hardiness of O. communa. Many genes have been identified to play a role in cold-tolerance regulation in insects, but the function of the gene encoding non-muscle myosin regulatory light chain (MRLC-sqh) remains unknown. To evaluate the role played by MRLC-sqh in the cold-tolerance response, we cloned and characterized MRLC-sqh from O. communa. Quantitative real-time PCR revealed that MRLC-sqh was expressed at high levels in the gut and pupae of O. communa. The expression of MRLC-sqh was shown to decrease after cold shock between 10 and 0 °C and ascend between 0 and −10 °C, but these did not show a positive association between MRLC-sqh expression and cold stress. Silencing of MRLC-sqh using dsMRLC-sqh increased the chill-coma recovery time of these beetles, suggesting that cold hardiness was reduced in its absence. These results suggest that the cold hardiness of O. communa may be partly regulated by MRLC-sqh. Our findings highlight the importance of motor proteins in mediating the cold response in insects.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11120847
By having an extensive territory and suitable climate conditions, South America is one of the most important agricultural regions in the world, providing different kinds of vegetable products to different regions of the world. However, such favorable conditions for plant production also allow the development of several pests, increasing production costs. Among them, whiteflies (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) stand out for their potential for infesting several crops and for being resistant to insecticides, having high rates of reproduction and dispersal, besides their efficient activity as virus vectors. Currently, the most important species occurring in South America are Bemisia afer, Trialeurodes vaporariorum, and the cryptic species Middle East-Asia Minor 1, Mediterranean, and New World, from Bemisia tabaci complex. In this review, a series of studies performed in South America were compiled in an attempt to unify the advances that have been developed in whitefly management in this continent. At first, a background of the current whitefly distribution in South American countries as well as factors affecting them are shown, followed by a background of the whitefly transmitted viruses in South America, addressing their location and association with whiteflies in each country. Afterwards, a series of management strategies are proposed to be implemented in South American fields, including cultural practices and biological and chemical control, finalizing with a section containing future perspectives and directions for further research.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11120842
The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, is a major pest of cultivated tomato. Whitefly feeding-related injuries and transmission of viruses including tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) cause serious losses. Management strategy includes planting resistant cultivars/hybrids. However, TYLCV resistance is incomplete and whiteflies on TYLCV-resistant cultivars/hybrids are managed by insecticides. Acylsugars’-mediated resistance against whiteflies has been introgressed from wild solanums into cultivated tomato. This study evaluated acylsugar-producing tomato lines with quantitative trait loci (QTL) containing introgressions from Solanum pennellii LA716, known to alter acylsugars’ levels or chemistry. Evaluated acylsugar-producing lines were the benchmark line CU071026, QTL6/CU071026—a CU071026 sister line with QTL6, and three other CU071026 sister lines with varying QTLs—FA2/CU71026, FA7/CU071026, and FA2/FA7/CU071026. Non-acylsugar tomato hybrid Florida 47 (FL47) was also evaluated. Acylsugars’ amounts in FA7/CU071026 and FA2/FA7/CU071026 were 1.4 to 2.2 times greater than in other acylsugar-producing lines. Short chain fatty acid, i-C5, was dominant in all acylsugar-producing lines. Long chain fatty acids, n-C10 and n-C12, were more abundant in FA7/CU071026 and FA2/FA7/CU071026 than in other acylsugar-producing lines. Whiteflies preferentially settled on non-acylsugar hybrid FL47 leaves over three out of five acylsugar-producing lines, and whiteflies settled 5 to 85 times more on abaxial than adaxial leaf surface of FL47 than on acylsugar-producing lines. Whiteflies’ survival was 1.5 to 1.9 times lower on acylsugar-producing lines than in FL47. Nevertheless, whiteflies’ developmental time was up to 12.5% shorter on acylsugar-producing lines than on FL47. TYLCV infection following whitefly-mediated transmission to acylsugar-producing lines was 1.4 to 2.8 times lower than FL47, and TYLCV acquisition by whiteflies from acylsugar-producing lines was up to 77% lower than from FL47. However, TYLCV accumulation in acylsugar-producing lines following infection and TYLCV loads in whiteflies upon acquisition from acylsugar-producing lines were not different from FL47. Combining TYLCV resistance with acylsugars’-mediated whitefly resistance in cultivated tomato could substantially benefit whiteflies and TYLCV management.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11120843
The strawberry seed bug, Neopamera bilobata (Say), is an emerging pest of organic and conventional strawberries in Florida. There is limited information on this Rhyparochromidae species. Thus, the type of injury caused is not clearly documented and management recommendations are lacking. In this study, we evaluated the effect of strawberry cultivars, cover crops, and the presence of runners on N. bilobata populations and yield. We also investigated the effect of select cultivars and the presence of runners on N. bilobata injury levels. In addition, we used fruit bagging experiments to investigate the effects of N. bilobata population and life stage (nymph vs. adult) on strawberry fruits. There was no effect of cover crop or cultivar on N. bilobata populations. In the 2017–2018 season, strawberry plots with runners contained higher N. bilobata populations compared with plots without runners, and adult infestation was significantly higher than nymphal infestation. In the 2018–2019 season, the trend was reversed with higher numbers of N. bilobata collected in plots with runners removed. In the 2019–2020 season, there was no significant difference in N. bilobata populations in plots with and without runners. In both 2018–2019 and 2019–2020, nymphal infestation was higher than adult infestation. Less injury was recorded in “Florida Brilliance” compared with the other cultivars tested. In the 2019–2020 season, less injury was recorded from plots without runners while the difference was not significant in 2017–2018 or 2018–2019. Releasing five and ten adult N. bilobata on ripe (red) fruit produced a similar level of injury while no injury to unripe (green) fruit was observed. Both adults and nymphs cause injury to ripe fruit. These findings can help contribute to the development of an integrated pest management program for strawberry N. bilobata.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11120841
Temperature variation affects interactions involving plants, herbivores, and parasitoids, causing a mismatch between their phenological cycles. In the context of climate change, climatic factors can undergo profound and sudden changes, such as sudden hot or cold snaps. Herein, we show that the number of episodes of short but sustained low temperatures has increased, mainly during May, over the last two decades. We subjected galls induced by the Asian chestnut gall wasp (ACGW) Dryocosmus kuriphilus to cold stress to assess whether and, if so, how it affected the pest and its parasitoids. Over the course of two years, we measured seasonal parasitism, parasitism rates, the relative abundance of each parasitoid species, and ACGW mortality. We found that the cold treatment affected both the pest and the parasitoids, resulting in a reduction in the emergence of ACGWs and differing ratios of species within the parasitoid community. The most striking example was the change in the relative frequency of three species of Eupelmus spp. and Mesopolobus tibialis, which doubled in cold-stressed galls in all chestnut fields. The effects of temperature on the development of the host and the direct effects of cold temperatures on the surface of galls (in terms of the humidity or hardness of the galls) warrant further research in this direction.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11120846
At a time when there is much talk of reducing pesticide use and the implementation of integrated pest management, mainly in fields and glass-houses, it is appropriate to consider how cereals in storage are handled and what measures are taken to protect them against insects and other pests. For decades, the use of various synthetic pesticides has been the basis for the proper and long-term storage of cereals, primarily free of insects and mites, but also fungi and their mycotoxins and rodents. However, due to the registered negative effects of synthetic pesticides, such as dichloro-diphenyl-trihloroethane (DDT) or methyl bromide, on human health and the environment, and the appearance of resistance to, e.g., malathion, researchers have been looking for new acceptable control measures. Due to the proven and published non-acceptable data regarding synthetic pesticide effects, a combination of physical, mechanical, and biological measures with the minimal use of synthetic pesticides, under the name of integrated pest management, have been promoted. These combinations include high and low temperatures; the removal of dockages; and the application of pheromones, diatomaceous earth, and natural compounds from various plants, as well as inert gases, predators, and parasites. A ban of any synthetic pesticide usage is currently being considered, which emphasizes the fact that protection should only be performed by measures that do not leave harmful residues. However, the facts show that the application of physical, mechanical, and/or biological measures, besides the fact that they are not necessarily efficient, is very demanding because more knowledge and experience is required, as well as better equipment, greater financial investment, and awareness raising not only for agricultural producers and storage keepers, but also for consumers. In order to use these measures, which are less hazardous to humans and the environment, it is necessary to adapt regulations not only to speed up the registration protocols of low-risk pesticides, but also to prescribe criteria for placing agricultural products on the market, as well as quality standards, i.e., the permitted number of present insects, in addition to their parts in certain types of food. Additionally, we should be aware of control measures for protecting novel food and other non-traditional foods. It is important to continue to combine different protection measures, namely integrated pest management, until all of the other new procedures that must be carried out during the period of storing cereals and other products are clear, in order to ensure the best quality of final products for consumers.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11120839
Psocids are a new risk for global food security and safety because they are significant worldwide pests of stored products. Among these psocids, Liposcelis bostrychophila has developed high levels of resistance or tolerance to heat treatment in grain storage systems, and thus has led to investigation of molecular mechanisms underlying heat tolerance in this pest. In this study, the time-related effects of thermal stress treatments at relatively high temperatures on the activities of antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), peroxidases (POD), glutathione-S-transferases (GST) and malondialdehyde (MDA), of L. bostrychophila were determined. Thermal stress resulted that L. bostrychophila had a significantly higher MDA concentration at 42.5 °C, which indicated that the heat stress increased lipid peroxidation (LPO) contents and oxidative stress in this psocid pest. Heat stress also resulted in significant elevation of SOD, CAT and GST activities but decreased POD activity. Our data indicates that different antioxidant enzymes contribute to defense mechanisms, counteracting oxidative damage in varying levels. POD play minor roles in scavenging deleterious LPO, while enhanced SOD, CAT and GST activities in response to thermal stress likely play a more important role against oxidative damage. Here, we firstly identified five LbHsps (four LbHsp70s and one LbHsp110) from psocids, and most of these LbHsps (except LbHsp70-1) are highly expressed at fourth instar nymph and adults, and LbHsp70-1 likely presents as a cognate form of HSP due to its non-significant changes of expression. Most LbHsp70s (except LbHsp70-4) are significantly induced at moderate high temperatures (
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11120838
The Neotropical brown stink bug, Euschistus heros, is one of the most important stink bug pests in leguminous plants in South America. RNAi and CRISPR/Cas9 are important and useful tools in functional genomics, as well as in the future development of new integrated pest management strategies. Here, we explore the use of these technologies as complementing functional genomic tools in E. heros. Three genes, abnormal wing disc (awd), tyrosine hydroxylase (th) and yellow (yel), known to be involved in wing development (awd) and the melanin pathway (th and yel) in other insects, were chosen to be evaluated using RNAi and CRISPR/Cas9 as tools. First, the genes were functionally characterized using RNAi knockdown technology. The expected phenotype of either deformed wing or lighter cuticle pigmentation/defects in cuticle sclerotization was observed for awd and th, respectively. However, for yel, no obvious phenotype was observed. Based on this, yel was selected as a target for the development of a CRISPR/Cas9 workflow to study gene knockout in E. heros. A total of 719 eggs were injected with the Cas9 nuclease (300 ng/µL) together with the sgRNA (300 ng/µL) targeting yel. A total of six insects successfully hatched from the injected eggs and one of the insects showed mutation in the target region, however, the phenotype was still not obvious. Overall, this study for the first time provides a useful CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing methodology to complement RNAi for functional genomic studies in one of the most important and economically relevant stink bug species.
Insects, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11120837
Codling moth was introduced into New Zealand, and remains a critical pest for the apple industry. Apples exported to some markets require strict phytosanitary measures to eliminate the risk of larval infestation. Mating disruption and insecticide applications are the principal means of suppression in New Zealand. We tested the potential for the sterile insect technique (SIT) to supplement these measures to achieve local eradication or suppression of this pest. SIT was trialed in an isolated group of six integrated fruit production (IFP) orchards and one organic orchard (total 391 ha), using sterilized insects imported from Canada, with release by unmanned aerial vehicle and from the ground. Eradication was not achieved across the region, but a very high level of codling moth suppression was achieved at individual orchards after the introduction of sterile moths in combination with mating disruption and larvicides. After six years of releases, catches of wild codling moths at three IFP orchards (224 ha) were 90–99% lower than in 2013–2014, the year before releases began. Catches at three other IFP orchards (129 ha) decreased by 67–97% from the year before releases began (2015–2016), from lower initial levels. At a certified organic orchard with a higher initial population under only organic larvicides and mating disruption, by 2019–2020, there was an 81% reduction in wild moths capture from 2016–2017, the year before releases began.