Journal of Insect Science (2008) 8 (49), p. 19 (Naranjo et al.)

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S.E. Naranjo, D. Dierig and P.C. Ellsworth (2008)
Survey and evaluation of Lygus bugs on lesquerella and guayule, two new desert crops in the western USA
Journal of Insect Science 8 (49), 19-19
in P.B. Goodell and P.C. Ellsworth, organizers: Second International Lygus Symposium, Pacific Grove, California, April 15-19 2007
Abstract: Lesquerella spp. (Family Brassicaceae) are perennials native to North America and their seeds contain industrially-valuable hydroxy fatty acids used for the production of bio-lubricants, motor oils, resins, waxes, nylons, plastics, corrosion inhibitors, cosmetics and coatings. Lesquerella fendleri occurs in the southwestern USA and northern Mexico and research to develop this species as an annual alternative crop for the arid southwest has been underway since the mid 1980s. Guayule, Parthenium argentatum (Family Asteraceae), is a perennial shrub native to the Chihuahuan desert of North America and is a source of hypoallergenic latex useful in making all types of rubber products. Guayule has been used as a source of natural rubber at various times over the past 100 years in the USA and renewed interest in the crop emerged in the past decade when better methods for extracting the latex were developed. It is now grown commercially in Arizona. Nothing is known about the arthropods inhabiting either of these new crops. Survey studies initiated in L. fendleri in 2004 reveal that it hosts large populations of Lygus spp. (primarily L. hesperus) along with a high diversity and abundance of other arthropods, many of which are beneficial species shared with cotton, alfalfa and other crops in Arizona. In 2005, experimental studies manipulating Lygus bug densities with insecticides showed that increasing densities of Lygus bugs were significantly related to increasing levels of fruit abortion, and flower bud and seed pod damage. This overall damage resulted in significant decreases in yield and marginally significant reductions in seed oil content. Similar studies in 2006 showed trends of increasing levels of fruit abortion, and flower bud and seed pod damage with increasing densities of Lygus bugs, but no effects were observed on yield. A final year of study is underway in 2007. Year-round survey studies in commercial guayule were initiated in 2005. Many of the same arthropods found in lesquerella also are present in guayule but at much lower densities. Lygus bugs are present over an extended portion of the year but generally absent during winter months. Natural enemy populations are present year-round. Additional work is planned to examine the pest potential of Lygus bugs in this crop. Further studies are also examining the potential role of both lesquerella and guayule as sources of natural enemies for other crops such as cotton.
Database assignments for author(s): Steven E. Naranjo, Peter C. Ellsworth

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution
damage/losses/economics


Pest and/or beneficial records:

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


Lygus hesperus Guayule (Parthenium argentatum) U.S.A. (SW)
Lygus hesperus Lesquerella (genus) U.S.A. (SW)