Pierce's Disease
Research Updates


What is Pierce's Disease?

Pierce's Disease is a bacterial infection, which is spread by bugs that feed on grapevines, particularly the "glassy winged sharpshooter." Grapevines that become infected with PD can quickly become sick and die.

glassy-winged sharpshooter

Olfactory responses of the egg parasitoid, Gonatocerus ashmeadi Girault (Hymenoptera : Mymaridae), to host plants infested by Homalodisca vitripennis (Germar) (Hemiptera : Cicadellidae)

  • Author(s): Daane, KM; Johnson, MW; Krugner, R; Morse, JG;
  • Abstract: Gonatocerus ashmeadi Girault is an egg parasitoid with potential use in glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS), Homalodisca vitripennis (Germar), biological control in California. We tested the hypotheses that (1) G. ashmeadi uses chemical volatiles as cues to find hosts, (2) its success in host finding varies among plant species, and (3) the release of semiochemicals is systemically induced by GWSS feeding and oviposition. Using a glass Y-tube olfactometer, we determined G. ashmeadi's preference for volatiles of infested versus uninfested lemon, grapevine, red-tip photinia, and crape myrtle plants. The parasitoid's first choice to, its residence time, and the number of visits per Y-tube arm were used to assess its plant choice. G. ashmeadi chose the infested lemon, red-tip photinia, or grapevine plant significantly more often (62%, 67%, and 63%, respectively) than uninfested hosts, whereas they chose infested and uninfested crape myrtle equally often (49%). Females spent more time in and made more visits to the olfactometer arm connected to the infested plant than to the arm connected to the uninfested plant, except when testing crape myrtle. When testing for a systemic plant response to GWSS infestation, only infested lemon was significantly more attractive to the parasitoids than Was all uninfested plant. These results suggest that G. ashmeadi females use chemical volatiles as cues to find GWSS egg masses and that host finding success varies among GWSS host plants. Some plants used by GWSS as oviposition hosts may serve as an escape from parasitization by G. ashmeadi and act as reservoirs for new GWSS individuals. Published by Elsevier Inc.
  • Publication Date: Oct 2008
  • Journal: Biological Control