Validation of a physiologically based demographic model for Scaphoideus titanus Ball (Fam. Cicadellidae)


Abstract: The sap-sucking leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus plays a major role in spreading
Grapevine flavescence dorée (FD) phytoplasma. The FD management relies on vector control
and eradication of infected plants. A timely application of insecticides is based on insect
monitoring; mathematical models are helpful for guiding monitoring of S. titanus and
scheduling insecticide interventions. A Physiologically Based Demographic Model (PBDM),
which was initially calibrated for the moth Lobesia botrana and then for S. titanus, was
validated by using an independent dataset of population dynamics collected in different
vineyards of Piedmont (Italy) from 2013 to 2022. Focusing on the most relevant stage for the
management of FD, i. e., the 3rd nymphal instar (N3), the model prediction was less than 1 day in advance on the average when operated starting from the 25th of May. In 58 % of cases, the error was in the interval  3 days, in 26 % of cases in one week interval, and in 16 % of cases in more than one week interval; in only 19 % of the cases, the model was late with respect to the real population. We can then conclude that the PBDM can be a useful tool for guiding monitoring activities of S. titanus in vineyards and supporting decision making for the control of the vector.

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