Ability of Reptalus quinquecostatus (Hemiptera: Cixiidae) to inoculate stolbur phytoplasma to artificial feeding medium


F. Pinzauti, Centro di ricerca per l’Agrobiologia e la Pedologia, CRA, Via Lanciola 12/A, Florence, Italy.
Email: francesca.pinzauti@isza.it


Laboratory trials were carried out on wild individuals of Reptalus quinquecostatus (Cixiidae), a potential vector of stolbur phytoplasma to grapevine, to assess its ability to inoculate the phytoplasma in artificial feeding medium. Seventy-seven specimens of the cixiid were tested on a sucrose–TE (Tris–ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) diet and 62 of them survived less than 24 h. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays performed on the insect bodies detected the presence of stolbur phytoplasma, with an infection rate of 32.5%. Restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of the tuf gene, amplified by PCR, revealed Vergilbungskrankheit type I (VK-I) in 20 specimens, VK-II in 4 specimens and both types in 1 specimen. Ten of the 25 infected R. quinquecostatus specimens successfully inoculated VK-I in the sucrose solution, that is, a 40% inoculation efficiency despite the brief survival. The results indicate that R. quinquecostatus is a competent species to transmit the stolbur phytoplasma in artificial conditions. The repeated observation of adults feeding on grapevine strengthens the hypothesis that the species is a vector of stolbur phytoplasma to this plant.