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Bull Entomol Res. 2009 Aug;99(4):377-83. doi: 10.1017/S0007485308006457. Epub 2008 Dec 9.

Seasonal progression of sex ratio and phytoplasma infection in Scaphoideus titanus Ball (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae).

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Dipartimento di Valorizzazione e Protezione delle Risorse Agroforestali (Di Va PRA), Entomologia e Zoologia applicate all'Ambiente 'C. Vidano', University of Turin, via L. da Vinci 44, 10095 Grugliasco (TO), Italy.


The differences between the seasonal occurrence and likelihood of being infected by FD phytoplasmas, of male and female Scaphoideus titanus Ball, were investigated. Sex ratio (male: female) was calculated by counting males and females sampled by means of yellow sticky traps and sweep-nets and from adults derived from hatched eggs in field-collected grapevine wood. PCR essays were performed to test differences in infection between genders. Overall, the sex ratio on sticky traps was significantly more male biased (1.99:1) if compared to net sweeping (0.62:1) and laboratory rearing (0.60:1). The peak of male presence was recorded in the middle of July in laboratory rearing and sweep net, and in the middle of August on sticky traps; the maximum presence of females was detected at the end of July in laboratory rearing, and at the end of August in sweep net samplings and on sticky traps. The seasonal sex ratio was more male biased at the beginning in laboratory rearing (1.50:1) and sticky traps (9:1), and then decreased in favor of females at the end of the sampling period, both in laboratory rearing (0.17:1) and in sticky traps (0.07:1). This trend was significantly less skewed, although similar, in sweep net samplings that recorded a sex ratio of 1:1 and 0.16:1 at the beginning and at the end of the sampling period, respectively. Concerning phytoplasma detection, an interaction between gender and sampling period was observed, the males showing a peak of infected individuals later in the season (35%). Some possible behavioral explanations of the data obtained are given.

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