Vibrational Mating Disruption of the glassy-winged sharpshooter,Homalodisca vitripennis, vector of Xylella fastidiosa in California
Abstract: This contribution is a summary of research activities conducted between 2014 and 2017 on the mating behavior of Homalodisca vitripennis, the glassy winged sharpshooter (GWSS), with emphasis on the assessment of whether vibrational mating interference approaches can be used as a novel control method. The GWSS mating behavior is characterized by the emission of substrate borne vibrational signals by both sexes. Males and females are endowed of a broad repertoire of vibrational signals through which they establish a vibrational duet that allows reciprocal identification, partner location (males search for stationary females) and eventual mating. Tests of behavioral manipulation with playbacks were performed to ascertain that vibrational signals could compromise mating. The transmission of female playback signals significantly reduced mating activity in both laboratory and field conditions. In addition, three specifically designed synthetic signals were tested in the laboratory to assess their ability to disrupt male signaling behaviors. Among these, two signals containing a pure 80 Hz tone resulted in the total suppression of male signaling activity, which supports future field testing of the signal as a novel disruptive factor in GWSS communication. To date, experimental data support application of vibrational interference as a method to disrupt the mating behavior of GWSS.