Variation in Leafhopper Species Abundance and Diversity among Elm Seedlings and Cultivars

in HortScience

A survey was conducted in the 2001 growing season to determine the leafhopper species composition, abundance, richness, diversity, and evenness among trees of three elm (Ulmus sp.) cultivars, two U.S. National Arboretum (USNA) seedling selections of U. szechuanica Fang, and two USNA seedling selections of U. bergmanniana Schneid. in a mixed stand. Yellow sticky traps were used to qualify and quantify the number of aerial leafhoppers from 1 May 2001 until 4 September 2001. A total of 4,523 individuals, belonging to 39 species within seven leafhopper subfamilies, were trapped. The weekly mean number of leafhoppers collected was significantly higher on traps from `Patriot', followed by `Frontier' and `Prospector', than on traps from the USNA seedling selections. Although the weekly mean species richness for `Prospector' was lower than the other two cultivars, the three cultivars had higher mean species richness than the USNA seedling selections of U. szechuanica and U. bergmanniana. Diversity among cultivars was higher than among the USNA seedling selections. Ulmus bergmanniana 68983 and U. szechuanica 68986 shared the highest percentage of species similarity, while `Frontier' and U. szechuanica 68991 were the most dissimilar. Of the species collected, Agallia quadripunctata, Empoasca fabae and Graphocephala versuta were the most abundant. The other species were mostly rare based on their low abundance. Scaphoideus luteolus, the only confirmed vector of elm yellows in North America, was found among the elm cultivars only. Yet, the Cicadellinae leafhoppers that are vectors of Xylella fastidiosa, the causal agent of bacterial leaf scorch, were found among both the cultivars and USNA seedling selections. Such data could allow for the screening and selection of elms resistant to economically important leafhoppers.

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