Flight performance of the potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli) is negatively afected by 'Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum' infection

Antolínez et al. [posted content, 2023]
“Liberibacter solanacearum”
Abstract Understanding vector dispersal capacity is key to assessing the risk of spread of vector borne pathogens. For flying vectors, flight performance is associated with primary and secondary pathogen spread. However, because pathogens induce changes in vector physiology, pathogen status in the vector may impact vector dispersal. In this work, by using flight mills, we assessed the flight performance of Bactericera cockerellithat were infected or not by the plant pathogenic bacterium ‘CandidatusLiberibacter solanacearum’ (CLso), the causal agent of potato zebra chip disease and vein greening in tomato. Bactericera cockerelliperformed short and long-distance flights, but CLso infection status affected the propensity to engage in long flights. CLso-free insects engaged in long flights significantly more often (57%) compared to CLso infected insects (25%). Average distance dispersed for long flyers was 185.33 m for CLso-free insects and 122.99 m for insects infected with CLso. However, distance dispersed was not statistically different by pathogen status of the vector. Maximal flight capacity recorded was 980 m. Overall, our data suggest that CLso reduces the propensity to engage in long distance flights. Our results can be utilized to fine-tune strategies to mitigate CLso establishment in new areas.
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