Philaenus spumarius (L.) (Homoptera: Aphrophoridae) and other potential insect vectors of Xylella fastidiosa in Western Crete (Greece) olive groves


Abstract: Auchenorrhyncha and especially the xylem fluid-feeders belonging to the families Cicadellidae, Aphrophoridae and Cercopidae have received increasing attention in the last years, particularly in Europe, due to their potential ability to transmit the economically important bacterial pathogen Xylella fastidiosa. This is a xylem inhabiting bacterium that causes many diseases around the world, such as the Pierce’s disease of grapevine, citrus variegated chlorosis, phony peach disease, alfalfa dwarf and a number of leaf scorch diseases in several plant species. The aim of this work was to identify the most abundant potential vectors of X. fastidiosa in olive groves of Western Crete (Chania) in southern Greece, and study their seasonal dynamics and abundance, focusing on Philaenus spumarius, considered the main vector of X. fastidiosa subspecies pauca in Southern Italy. Adult populations of Auchenorrhyncha species were monitored fortnightly from March 2017 to April 2018 using Malaise traps. Moreover, from November 2017 olive canopies, ground vegetation and adjacent natural habitat were swept using sweeping net and aspirator. Collected Auchenorrhyncha were identified and sampling results are herein presented and discussed. Moreover, we discuss differences among sampling methods used as well as habitat-dependent differences in population dynamics of potential vector species in the olive-grove environment. Our results provide new insights into the seasonal abundance of potential vectors of X. fastidiosa in olive groves of southern Greece, and are essential in planning an effective IPM strategy against them and prevent the establishment and spread of the pathogen in the area.

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