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    The corn leafhopper Dalbulus maidis (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), a specialist herbivore, is the cause of serious losses in maize yield for its capacity to transmit three important plant pathogens. They are also active phloem feeders, that insert stylets into the plant as they feed. Females place their eggs endophytically, totally inserted in the central midrib or the leaf blades, leaving conspicuous openings in the place where the ovipositor was inserted. In spite of the consequences that feeding and oviposition may have on the water status of the plant and the production of biomass, direct damage caused by the leafhopper has been only scarcely studied. In the present contribution, we measured biomass loss due to direct damage in maize plants under two watering regimes, with water supply ad libitum and with a watering restricted regime, emulating the most frequent field conditions. Moreover, we analyzed the effects of increasing densities of the vector on the biomass loss and plant mortality and the effects of females vs males. We observed that a density of 10 insects is sufficient to cause damage to 10-day-old seedlings, even in an ad libitum watering regime; however, in drought conditions, damage can be significantly greater, causing plant mortality. Also, females cause more damage than males, due to their oviposition habits.


    E G Virla, M V Coll Araoz, E Luft Albarracin. Estimation of direct damage to maize seedlings by the corn leafhopper, Dalbulus maidis (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), under different watering regimes. Bulletin of entomological research. 2021 Feb 15:1-7

    PMID: 33583441

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