Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata (2011) 139, 60-67

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Sébastien Kessler, Santiago Schaerer, Nicolas Delabays, Ted C.J. Turlings, Valeria Trivellone and Patrik Kehrli (2011)
Host plant preferences of Hyalesthes obsoletus, the vector of the grapevine yellows disease 'bois noir', in Switzerland
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 139 (1), 60-67
Abstract: Bois noir is an important grapevine yellows disease in Europe that can cause serious economic losses in grapevine production. It is caused by stolbur phytoplasma strains of the taxonomic group 16Sr-XII-A. Hyalesthes obsoletus Signoret (Hemiptera: Cixiidae) is the most important vector of bois noir in Europe. This polyphagous planthopper is assumed to mainly use stinging nettle [Urtica dioica L. (Urticaceae)] and field bindweed [Convolvulus arvensis L. (Convolvulaceae)] as its host plants. For a better understanding of the epidemiology of bois noir in Switzerland, host plant preferences of H. obsoletus were studied in the field and in the laboratory. In vineyards of Western Switzerland, adults of H. obsoletus were primarily captured on U. dioica, but a few specimens were also caught on C. arvensis, hedge bindweed [Calystegia sepium (L.) R. Brown (Convolvulaceae)], and five other dicotyledons [i.e., Clematis vitalba L. (Ranunculaceae), Lepidium draba L. (Brassicaceae), Plantago lanceolata L. (Plantaginaceae), Polygonum aviculare L. (Polygonaceae), and Taraxacum officinale Weber (Asteraceae)]. The preference of the vector for U. dioica compared to C. arvensis was confirmed by a second, more targeted field study and by the positioning of emergence traps above the two plant species. Two-choice experiments in the laboratory showed that H. obsoletus adults originating from U. dioica preferred to feed and to oviposit on U. dioica compared to C. arvensis. However, H. obsoletus nymphs showed no host plant preference, even though they developed much better on U. dioica than on C. arvensis. Similarly, adults survived significantly longer on U. dioica than on C. arvensis or any other plant species tested [i.e., L. draba and Lavandula angustifolia Mill. (Lamiaceae)]. In conclusion, although nymphs of H. obsoletus had no inherent host plant preference, adults tested preferred to feed and oviposit on U. dioica, which is in agreement with the observed superior performance of both nymphal and adult stages on this plant species. Urtica dioica appears to be the principal host plant of H. obsoletus in Switzerland and plays therefore an important role in the epidemiology of the bois noir disease in Swiss vineyards.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Patrik Kehrli, Santiago Schaerer, Ted C.J. Turlings

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
transmission/dispersal of plant diseases
environment - cropping system/rotation


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Convolvulus arvensis (weed) Switzerland
Calystegia sepium (weed) Switzerland
Taraxacum officinale (weed) Switzerland
Polygonum aviculare (weed) Switzerland
Plantago lanceolata (weed) Switzerland
Clematis vitalba (weed) Switzerland
Hyalesthes obsoletus Grapevine (Vitis) Switzerland
16SrXII phytoplasma group Grapevine (Vitis) Switzerland
Urtica dioica (weed) Switzerland