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Matthew Chappell and Carol Robacker

Azaleas (Ericales: Ericaceae: Rhododendron L.) are a staple plant in many landscapes of the United States and are largely resistant to predation by insects, with the exception of azalea lace bug [ALB (Heteroptera: Tingidae: Stephanitis pyrioides)]. Within deciduous azalea (Rhododendron: section Pentanthera G. Don) varying levels of resistance to ALB are observed with a continuous distribution from susceptible to highly resistant. In this study, epicuticular leaf wax from two ALB-resistant [R. canescens Michaux and R. periclymenoides (Michaux) Shinners] and two ALB-susceptible (`Buttercup' and `My Mary') deciduous azalea genotypes was extracted and re-applied to fresh azalea foliage. Leaf wax extracted from ALB-resistant genotypes and applied to ALB-susceptible genotypes conferred a high level of resistance to both ALB feeding and oviposition in the treated ALB-susceptible genotypes. Conversely, leaf wax extracted from ALB-susceptible genotypes and applied to ALB-resistant genotypes conferred susceptibility to the treated ALB-resistant genotypes. However, the effect was much less substantial than the effect of resistant wax extracts on susceptible genotypes and confined to ALB oviposition. When applied to the same genotype from which the extract was collected, leaf wax extract from ALB-susceptible genotypes had no effect on susceptibility, whereas resistant wax extract had a moderate effect on ALB oviposition rate. The results indicate that leaf wax serves as a primary mechanism of resistance of deciduous azalea to ALB.

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Matthew Chappell, Carol Robacker, Sherrod Baden, and Allen Byous

Azalea lace bug (ALB) is a significant pest on azalea, with feeding injury causing speckling and discoloration on affected leaves. Feeding damage also results in a reduction of stomatal gas exchange and leaf chlorophyll content, postulated to diminish growth and flowering rates.

In azalea, specific lipid components of the plant cuticle have been implicated in ALB resistance of R. canescens. In this study, epicuticular leaf wax was extracted from the leaves of four azalea genotypes, divided into two groups: a resistant group including R. periclymenoides and `Fourth of July' and a susceptible group including R. austrinum and `My Mary'. Leaf wax was extracted and resuspended in solution for application to all entries in a full diallel manner, including controls of solution only and no treatment. Each genotype–solution treatment included 10 replications. The leaf wax solution was applied to each replication (leaf) by painting the solution on one side of the midrib, yet on both abaxial and adaxial surfaces. Two leaves attached to a stem and four female adult ALB were placed in separate 32-mL sealed cups. Experimental conditions were 24 °C and 12-hour daylength for 96 h, at which time the number of live adults, frass spots, and eggs were counted. Data revealed that application of leaf wax solution had an impact on the level of frass and egg deposition by ALB in both resistant and susceptible genotypes. The effect was most pronounced when a solution of resistant genotypes was placed on susceptible genotypes, as the application resulted in lower numbers of frass spots and eggs compared to the nil control. However, an increase in frass and eggs was observed when extract of susceptible genotypes was applied to resistant genotypes.

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Matthew R. Chappell*, Carol Robacker, Sherrod Baden, and Allen Byous

Azalea Lace Bug (ALB) is a significant pest on azalea species. ALB feeding injury causes a stippled appearance on the leaves of susceptible genotypes from late spring until leaf drop. To determine whether leaf surface lipids are a factor in determining resistance or susceptibility to ALB, epicuticular leaf wax was extracted from the leaves of eight azalea genotypes, half with resistance and half susceptible to ALB. Leaf wax from each genotype was extracted and re-suspended in an 2 ethanol: 1 water solution for application to all entries in a full diallel manner, including a control of solution only. Each treatment included three replications. The leaf wax solution was applied to each replication (single leaf) by painting the solution on one side of the midrib, on both abaxial and adaxial surfaces. By applying solution to one side of the leaf, the untreated leaf surface served as a control. Each leaf and two female ALB were placed in separate 50-mL sealed tubes at 24 °C and 12-hour daylength for 48 hours, at which time the number of live adults, frass spots, and eggs were counted. Frass and egg data were recorded separately for treated and untreated sides of each leaf. The application of leaf wax solution had an impact on the level of frass and egg deposition by ALB in all genotypes. The effect was most pronounced when solution of resistant genotypes was placed on susceptible genotypes, resulting in lower numbers of frass spots and eggs. The solution alone had little effect on frass or egg numbers. This research acknowledges that a major constituent of an azalea's resistance or susceptibility to ALB is via epicuticular wax components.

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Yuefang Wang, Carol D. Robacker, and S. Kristine Braman

The susceptibility of seventeen deciduous species or cultivars and one evergreen cultivar of azalea (Rhododendron spp.) to azalea lace bug (Stephanitis pyrioides Scott) was evaluated in field and laboratory experiments. Rhododendron canescens Michx. and R. periclymenoides (Michx.) Shinners were the most resistant species, followed by R. prunifolium (Small) Millais. Ratings were based on oviposition rate, percentage emergence from the egg, feeding damage, and nymphal growth rate. The most susceptible genotypes were TNLV1, R. oblongifolium (Small) Millais, R. alabamense Rehder, R. serrulatum (Small) Millais, R. viscosum (L.) Torr., `Buttercup', and `My Mary'. Leaf water content and leaf pubescence were significantly different among taxa. However, leaf water content was not significantly correlated with azalea lace bug performance, and insufficient evidence was available to conclude that leaf pubescence was involved in azalea lace bug resistance.

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Yuefang Wang, S. Kristine Braman, Carol D. Robacker, Joyce G. Latimer, and Karl E. Espelie

Epicuticular lipids were extracted from the foliage of six deciduous and one evergreen azalea genotypes (Rhododendron sp.) and identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The relationship of leaf-surface lipid composition with measures of resistance to azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides Scott, was evaluated. Each genotype had a distinct epicuticular lipid composition. The major surface lipid components from all test taxa were n-alkanes and triterpenoids. In the most resistant genotypes [R. canescens Michaux and R. periclymenoides (Michaux) Shinners] ursolic acid, n-hentriacontane, and n-nonacosane were the most abundant epicuticular lipids. The lipids present in largest proportion among all susceptible deciduous genotypes tested were α-amyrin, β-amyrin, and n-nonacosane. The proportions of the lipid components from the same plant of each genotype varied between spring and fall samples. Among classes of lipids, n-alkanes, n-1-alkanols, and triterpenoids had significant correlations with azalea lace bug behavior on host plants. Among individual components, heptadecanoic acid, n-hentriacontane, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid and one unknown compound (with major mass spectra 73/179/192/284/311) were significantly negatively correlated with host plant susceptibility to azalea lace bug, as measured by oviposition, leaf area damaged, egg and nymphal development, and nymphal survivorship. Triacontanol, α-amyrin, β-amyrin, and three unknowns were significantly positively correlated with host plant susceptibility. Acceptance or rejection by azalea lace bug to a particular plant may be mediated by a balance of positively and negatively interpreted sensory signals evoked by plant chemicals. This study indicated that the high levels of resistance observed in R. canescens and R. periclymenoides may be due to the lesser amount or the absence of attractants and stimulants for feeding or oviposition.

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Grant T. Kirker, Blair J. Sampson, Cecil T. Pounders, James M. Spiers, and David W. Boyd Jr

The azalea lace bug (ALB), Stephanitis pyrioides (Scott), is an economically important hemipteran pest on azalea and a serious problem to azalea production nurseries in the southeastern United States. Eggs overwinter in midribs of leaves and

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Janet L. Kintz and David R. Alverson

The effects of sun and shade in a small monocultural nursery-like environment and the effect of natural enemies on the population density of azalea lace bugs (Stephanitis pyrioides Scott) on azaleas (Rhododendron L.) in the nursery environment were assessed. A comparison of sun and shade treatments for total number of azalea lace bug eggs collected and eclosed revealed no significant (P < 0.05) differences. Stippling damage did not differ significantly between sun and shade treatments. Therefore, lace bug oviposition or eclosion were not affected by sun or shade. Arthropods collected from 5 weeks of beat samples were divided into four feeding guilds: predator-parasitoid (eight families), chelicerates (six families), chewing herbivores (two families), and piercing-sucking herbivores (nine families). Guilds were not significantly different between sun and shade treatments. In the small monocultures designed for this experiment, the 4 guilds do not appear to show preference for sun or shade habitats. No significant differences in azalea lace bug populations between caged and uncaged azalea cuttings in the nursery environment indicate there were no consequential effects of predation or parasitism on egg eclosion or subsequent instars in the first generation.

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Carol D. Robacker and S.K. Braman

Azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides (Scott), is a major pest on azalea. Adults and nymphs feed and oviposit on the underside of the leaves, causing a stippled appearance when viewed from above. Previous field and laboratory screenings of 17 taxa of deciduous azalea, including representatives of 11 species, have identified a range of resistance to lace bug. One of the most resistant plants observed was of the species R. canescens. The interveinal region on the underside of the leaves of this plant is highly pubescent. This plant was crossed to a susceptible plant of R. viscosum (formerly R. serrulatum), which was glabrous on the lower leaf surface. The resulting seeds were planted in 1996, and the seedlings were transplanted to the field in 1998. In Sept. 1999, a laboratory bioassay was conducted to determine the resistance levels of these progeny. Five cuttings, each with two leaves, were collected from each plant, including the parental genotypes. Two female lace bugs were transferred onto the leaves of each cutting and the leaves were enclosed in a plastic cup with mesh for ventilation. After 5 days, the number of live bugs and number of eggs per cutting were counted. The percent damage from feeding was estimated. To determine whether pubescence was correlated with lace bug resistance, two terminal leaves were collected from each plant, and interveinal leaf hair density was calculated. Results from the laboratory bioassays revealed a high degree of susceptiblity to lace bug among these seedlings. Most of the progeny were pubescent, indicating no relationship between leaf hair density and resistance.

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Jo-Ann Bentz

This study quantified how different shading levels alter the foliar nutrient, C:N ratio, chlorophyll content and key leaf characters in azalea `Delaware Valley White' Rhododendron mucronatum (Blume) (Ericales: Ericaceae), which influenced, in turn, feeding, oviposition, survival and development of the azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides (Scott) (Heteroptera: Tingidae). The mean contents of N, Ca, Fe, and Zn increased linearly with increases in the shading level, whereas P, K, B, Mn, and the C:N ratio of leaves were significantly decreased. Although injured leaves contained significantly less chlorophyll than uninjured leaves, the mean relative chlorophyll content of leaves increased linearly with the level of shading. Mean leaf area and moisture content of leaves increased linearly with increased degree of shading, while the mean trichome density decreased. The mean number of oviposited eggs and the percent of nymphs reaching adulthood increased linearly with the degree of shading. Azalea shoots suffered increased feeding injury as the season progressed, yet unshaded plants suffered more feeding injury than shaded plants. While the mean number of eggs laid, and the mean number of reared adults, were significantly and positively correlated with the mean leaf N, the mean feeding injury was negatively correlated with leaf N. Although these dependent variables were not correlated with K nor Ca, the mean number of eggs laid, and the mean number of reared adults were negatively correlated with the mean leaf P and with the mean C:N ratio. Mean feeding injury was positively correlated with leaf P and with the C:N ratio, but negatively correlated with N. This study shows that shaded plants are of better quality as hosts and that these plants can tolerate infestations by the lace bug.

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Michael C. Long, Stephen L. Krebs, and Stan C. Hokanson

powdery mildew ( Podosphaera leucotricha ) Report East Malling Res. Stat. 107 109 Chappell, M. Robacker, C. 2006 Leaf wax extracts of four deciduous azalea genotypes affect azalea lace bug ( Stephanitis pyrioides