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Haplaxius crudus (Hemiptera: Cixiidae) transmits the lethal yellowing phytoplasmas, 16SrIV, to Pritchardia pacifica Seem. and H.Wendl (Arecaceae) in Yucatan, Mexico

Dzido J.L., Sanchez R., Dollet M., Julia J., Narvaez M., Fabre S., Oropeza C.. 2020. Neotropical Entomology, 49 (6) : p. 795-805.

DOI: 10.1007/s13744-020-00799-2

Lethal yellowing (LY) affects several palm species in the Americas. It is caused by 16SrIV group phytoplasmas. In Florida (USA), LY was shown to be transmitted by the planthopper Haplaxius crudus (Van Duzee) (Hemiptera, Cixiidae) to different palm species, including Pritchardia pacifica Seem. & H. Wendl. (Arecaceae) in insect-proof cage experiments in the 1980s, a result that had never been reproduced later. LY has destroyed many coconut plantations as well as other palm species in the Caribbean and Mexico. In order to evaluate if H. crudus is a vector of LY phytoplasmas in Mexico, experiments were carried out in Yucatan (Mexico). Several H. crudus from palms infected by LY in the field were introduced into cages containing young P. pacifica palms. These insects were able to transmit 16SrIV group phytoplasmas to P. pacifica palms. According to DNA sequences comparative analysis, virtual restriction fragment length polymorphism, and phylogenetic analysis, the phytoplasmas detected in these infected P. pacifica were of subgroups A and D. All of ten P. pacifica palms infected with the subgroup D phytoplasmas developed symptoms of LY and died, whereas only one of two palms infected with subgroup A developed LY symptoms and died. This is the first time, more than 30 years later, that the role of H. crudus as a vector of LY is confirmed.

Mots-clés : enquête pathologique; vecteur de maladie; transmission des maladies; phytoplasme; mexique; yucatan; haplaxius crudus; jaunissement mortel; pritchardia pacifica

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