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The occurrence and abundance of two alien eucalypt psyllids in apple orchards

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

The arrival of alien insects is frequently associated with the introduction of alien plants. Two exotic Psylloidea native to Australia [Ctenarytaina eucalypti (Maskell, 1890) and Ctenarytaina spatulata Taylor, 1997] were recorded during a two-year survey in five apple orchards located in Asturias, on the northern coast of Spain. Both species develop on Eucalyptus, but our results suggest that the adults feed also on apple.

RESULTS

The captures of adult Ctenarytaina, particularly C. spatulata (2191 individuals vs 100 of C. eucalypti) were higher than those of the psyllids that develop on apple. Both species occurred in all sites, including those most distant from the eucalypt plantations. Their abundance peaks matched with two crucial periods in the apple tree cycle: sprouting and leaf drop. The hypothesis that the adult eucalypt psyllids feed on apple is supported by the presence of a phytoplasma, the causal agent of the apple proliferation disease, in one specimen of each species. This phytoplasma can be only acquired after feeding on an infected apple tree. This is the first report of continuous captures of these psyllids in apple orchards.

CONCLUSIONS

This study suggests that adults of the two Ctenarytaina species feed in apple orchards in Asturias. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry

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