Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Biological and morphological studies of the Scaphytopius acutus complex (Homoptera:Cicadellidae) Public Deposited

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  • Reinterpretation of the leafhopper tribe Scaphytopiini reveals it to be primarily a New World taxon with only limited representation in the Palearctic, Oriental and possibly Ethiopian regions. Approximately 75 species assigned to three genera are known from the United States and Canada with at least another 75 species representing an undetermined number of genera and subgenera in Mexico, Central America and South America. The Scaphytopius acutus complex is the dominant element of the tribe in temperate North America in terms of number, distribution and economic significance. Proper identification of elements in this complex is important because of its implication as a vector of various plant pathogens. Using structural and distributional evidence, the morphologically diverse S. acutus complex can be subdivided into four subspecies. In the past, three of these, acutus, dubius and delongi, have been considered as either distinct species or synonyms of acutus; the fourth subspecies, cirrus, is described as new. Cross breeding experiments with laboratory cultures from three of these subspecies established that interpopulation fertility exists in varying degrees and apparently is not directly correlated with geographic proximity. Morphometric analyses of specimens from field collections and laboratory cultures indicated that both inter- and intrapopulation variation were consistent with the subspecies concept of the acutus complex. Several color and pattern morphs have been found among the nymphs of some field populations. Laboratory investigations of five of these morphs show that these are genetically determined but not sex limited; also, adult females produced by the five morphs differ in fitness and development rates in the laboratory. Both field and laboratory studies suggest that the complex exists as several biotypes with respect to host utilization for feeding and ovipositing. Field populations have been collected from a wide variety of habitat types and altitudes ranging from sea level to nearly 7000 ft (2134 m). Suitable host plants include various members of the Ericaceae, Rosaceae, Leguminosae and Compositae and Rhamnaceae.
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