ResearchPad - nymphs https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Juvenile hormone suppresses aggregation behavior through influencing antennal gene expression in locusts]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7742 A behavioral change from shy solitarious individuals to highly social gregarious individuals is critical to the formation of disastrous swarms of locusts. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of behavioral plasticity regulated by hormones is still largely unknown. Here, we investigated the effect of juvenile hormone (JH) on the behavioral transition in fourth-instar gregarious and solitarious locusts. We found that JH induced the behavioral shift of the gregarious locust from attraction to repulsion to the volatiles of gregarious locusts. The solitarious locust significantly decreased repulsion behavior after deprivation of JH by precocene or knockdown of JHAMT, a key enzyme to synthesize JH. JH application on gregarious locusts caused significant expression alteration of genes, especially the olfactory genes TO and CSP in the antennae. We further demonstrated that the JH signaling pathway suppressed aggregation behavior in gregarious locusts by increasing TO1 expression and decreasing CSP3 expression at the same time. Our results suggested that internal physiological factors can directly modulate periphery olfactory system to produce behavioral plasticity.

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<![CDATA[Detection of municipalities at-risk of Lyme disease using passive surveillance of Ixodes scapularis as an early signal: A province-specific indicator in Canada]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c75ac66d5eed0c484d086db

Lyme disease, the most commonly reported vector-borne disease in North America, is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, which is transmitted by Ixodes scapularis in eastern Canada and Ixodes pacificus in western Canada. Recently, the northward range expansion of I. scapularis ticks, in south-eastern Canada, has resulted in a dramatic increase in the incidence of human Lyme disease. Detecting emerging areas of Lyme disease risk allows public health to target disease prevention efforts. We analysed passive tick surveillance data from Ontario and Manitoba to i) assess the relationship between the total numbers of I. scapularis submissions in passive surveillance from humans, and the number of human Lyme disease cases, and ii) develop province-specific acarological indicators of risk that can be used to generate surveillance-based risk maps. We also assessed associations between numbers of nymphal I. scapularis tick submissions only and Lyme disease case incidence. Using General Estimating Equation regression, the relationship between I. scapularis submissions (total numbers and numbers of nymphs only) in each census sub-division (CSD) and the number of reported Lyme disease cases was positively correlated and highly significant in the two provinces (P ≤ 0.001). The numbers of I. scapularis submissions over five years discriminated CSDs with ≥ 3 Lyme disease cases from those with < 3 cases with high accuracy when using total numbers of tick submission (Receiver Operating Characteristics area under the curve [AUC] = 0.89) and moderate accuracy (AUC = 0.78) when using nymphal tick submissions only. In Ontario the optimal cut-off point was a total 12 tick submissions from a CSD over five years (Sensitivity = 0.82, Specificity = 0.84), while in Manitoba the cut-off point was five ticks (Sensitivity = 0.71, Specificity = 0.79) suggesting regional variability of the risk of acquiring Lyme disease from an I. scapularis bite. The performances of the acarological indicators developed in this study for Ontario and Manitoba support the ability of passive tick surveillance to provide an early signal of the existence Lyme disease risk areas in regions where ticks and the pathogens they transmit are expanding their range.

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<![CDATA[The growing importance of lone star ticks in a Lyme disease endemic county: Passive tick surveillance in Monmouth County, NJ, 2006 – 2016]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75cbd5eed0c4843d01e0

As human cases of tick-borne disease continue to increase, there is a heightened imperative to collect data on human-tick encounters to inform disease prevention. Passive tick surveillance programs that encourage members of the public to submit ticks they have encountered can provide a relatively low-cost means of collecting such data. We report the results of 11 years of tick submissions (2006–2016) collected in Monmouth County, New Jersey, an Atlantic coastal county long endemic for Lyme disease. A total of 8,608 ticks acquired in 22 U.S. states were submitted, 89.7% of which were acquired in Monmouth County, from 52 of the County’s 53 municipalities. Seasonal submission rates reflected known phenology of common human-biting ticks, but annual submissions of both Amblyomma americanum and Dermacentor variabilis increased significantly over time while numbers of Ixodes scapularis remained static. By 2016, A. americanum had expanded northward in the county and now accounted for nearly half (48.1%) of submissions, far outpacing encounters with I. scapularis (28.2% of submissions). Across all tick species and stages the greatest number of ticks were removed from children (ages 0–9, 40.8%) and older adults (ages 50+, 23.8%) and these age groups were also more likely to submit partially or fully engorged ticks, suggesting increased risk of tick-borne disease transmission to these vulnerable age groups. Significantly more people (43.2%) reported acquiring ticks at their place of residence than in a park or natural area (17.9%). This pattern was more pronounced for residents over 60 years of age (72.7% acquired at home). Education that stresses frequent tick checks should target older age groups engaged in activity around the home. Our results strongly suggest that encounter rates with ticks other than I. scapularis are substantial and increasing and that their role in causing human illness should be carefully investigated.

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<![CDATA[Limited effects of the maternal rearing environment on the behaviour and fitness of an insect herbivore and its natural enemy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c424399d5eed0c4845e0779

The maternal rearing environment can affect offspring fitness or phenotype indirectly via ‘maternal effects’ and can also influence a mother’s behaviour and fecundity directly. However, it remains uncertain how the effects of the maternal rearing environment cascade through multiple trophic levels, such as in plant-insect herbivore-natural enemy interactions. Pea aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum) show differential fitness on host legume species, while generalist aphid parasitoids can show variable fitness on different host aphid species, suggesting that maternal effects could operate in a plant-aphid-parasitoid system. We tested whether the maternal rearing environment affected the behaviour and fitness of aphids by rearing aphids on two plant hosts that were either the same as or different from those experienced by the mothers. A similar approach was used to test the behaviour and fitness of parasitoid wasps in response to maternal rearing environment. Here, the host environment was manipulated at the plant or plant and aphid trophic levels for parasitoid wasps. We also quantified the quality of host plants for aphids and host aphids for parasitoid wasps. In choice tests, aphids and parasitoid wasps had no preference for the plant nor plant and aphid host environment on which they were reared. Aphid offspring experienced 50.8% higher intrinsic rates of population growth, 43.4% heavier offspring and lived 14.9% longer when feeding on bean plants compared to aphids feeding on pea plants, with little effect of the maternal rearing environment. Plant tissue nitrogen concentration varied by 21.3% in response to aphid mothers’ rearing environment, and these differences correlated with offspring fitness. Maternal effects in parasitoid wasps were only observed when both the plant and aphid host environment was changed: wasp offspring were heaviest by 10.9–73.5% when both they and their mothers developed in bean-reared pea aphids. Also, parasitoid wasp fecundity was highest by 38.4% when offspring were oviposited in the maternal rearing environment. These findings indicate that maternal effects have a relatively small contribution towards the outcome of plant-aphid-parasitoid interactions.

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<![CDATA[Whole animal matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry of ticks – Are spectra of Ixodes ricinus nymphs influenced by environmental, spatial, and temporal factors?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c79d5eed0c484bd289b

In the recent years matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) has become a useful tool to characterize arthropod species and their different stages of development. It was reported for sand flies and mosquitoes at immature stages and also assumed for ticks that geographic location can have a subtle influence on MALDI-TOF mass spectra which allows the discrimination of animals with specific local variations of the MALDI-TOF MS phenotype. It is so far uncertain, however, if these mass-spectrometric differences are based on genetic variation or on spectral features which depend on environmental or temporal features. The aim of this study was to analyze the influence of the geographic location, environmental factors and the season of the year on the MALDI-TOF mass spectra of Ixodes (I.) ricinus nymphs and if spectral variation would allow to draw conclusions with respect to the tick’s provenience or conditions that influence the tick life cycle. Application of multivariate statistical models on spectra of ticks collected in different seasons and different habitats and locations within Germany showed that the impact of the location seemed to be small while season and habitat seemed to have stronger impact on the MALDI-TOF mass spectra. Possibilities and limitations of MALDI-TOF mass spectra to draw conclusions on the tick life cycle are discussed.

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<![CDATA[Hosts mobility and spatial spread of Rickettsia rickettsii]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c2d2f01d5eed0c484d9cba2

There are a huge number of pathogens with multi-component transmission cycles, involving amplifier hosts, vectors or complex pathogen life cycles. These complex systems present challenges in terms of modeling and policy development. A lethal tick-borne infectious disease, the Brazilian Spotted Fever (BSF), is a relevant example of that. The current increase of human cases of BSF has been associated with the presence and expansion of the capybara Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, amplifier host for the agent Rickettsia rickettsii and primary host for the tick vector Amblyomma sculptum. We introduce a stochastic dynamical model that captures the spatial distribution of capybaras and ticks to gain a better understanding of the spatial spread of the R. rickettsii and potentially predict future epidemic outcomes. We implemented a reaction-diffusion process in which individuals were divided into classes denoting their state with respect to the disease. The model considered bidirectional movements between base and destination locations limited by the carrying capacity of the environment. We performed systematic stochastic simulations and numerical analysis of the model and investigate the impact of potential interventions to mitigate the spatial spread of the disease. The mobility of capybaras and their attached ticks was significantly influenced by the birth rate of capybaras and therefore, disease propagation velocity was higher in places with higher carrying capacity. Some geographical barriers, generated for example by riparian reforesting, can impede the spatial spread of BSF. The results of this work will allow the formulation of public actions focused on the prevention of BSF human cases.

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<![CDATA[Methyl benzoate exhibits insecticidal and repellent activities against Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1028e8d5eed0c48424871b

Methyl benzoate (MB) is a plant-derived volatile organic compound with insecticidal properties, but such activity has not been evaluated against the sweetpotato whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), a major crop pest. In this study, we tested methyl benzoate control efficacy on B. tabaci infecting tomato plants in a greenhouse, specifically measuring contact and fumigant toxicity, as well as repellent activity. For direct spray applications of 0% (control), 0.1%, 0.25%, 0.5%, 1%, 2% MB onto tomato leaves infested with adults of B. tabaci (< 5-d-old), 2% MB showed the highest corrected mortality (100%) at 24 h post-treatment. For residual toxicity in which the same MB solutions were sprayed onto tomato leaves and allowed to dry for 2 h before < 5-d-old adults were released, the 2% MB also showed the highest corrected mortality (100%) at 48 h post-treatment. The lethal median concentration (LC50) for eggs, fourth-instar nymphs, and adults were 0.3%, 0.2%, and 0.2%, respectively. In pot culture experiments, 1% MB concentration was found more effective at killing nymphs and preventing adult eclosion than all other concentrations, and gave 100 percent population reduction compared with the control. MB repelled adult whiteflies and caused 96.5% fumigant toxicity within 10 h post-treatment. Repellency and anti-oviposition rates against B. tabaci had median effective doses of 0.24% and 0.16%, respectively. Our results suggest that MB has strong potential as an environmentally friendly biopesticide for control of B. tabaci but field trials and further greenhouse studies are required to establish efficacy under more natural conditions.

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<![CDATA[Influences of Host Community Characteristics on Borrelia burgdorferi Infection Prevalence in Blacklegged Ticks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da0aab0ee8fa60b7762b

Lyme disease is a major vector-borne bacterial disease in the USA. The disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, and transmitted among hosts and humans, primarily by blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis). The ~25 B. burgdorferi genotypes, based on genotypic variation of their outer surface protein C (ospC), can be phenotypically separated as strains that primarily cause human diseases—human invasive strains (HIS)—or those that rarely do. Additionally, the genotypes are non-randomly associated with host species. The goal of this study was to examine the extent to which phenotypic outcomes of B. burgdorferi could be explained by the host communities fed upon by blacklegged ticks. In 2006 and 2009, we determined the host community composition based on abundance estimates of the vertebrate hosts, and collected host-seeking nymphal ticks in 2007 and 2010 to determine the ospC genotypes within infected ticks. We regressed instances of B. burgdorferi phenotypes on site-specific characteristics of host communities by constructing Bayesian hierarchical models that properly handled missing data. The models provided quantitative support for the relevance of host composition on Lyme disease risk pertaining to B. burgdorferi prevalence (i.e. overall nymphal infection prevalence, or NIPAll) and HIS prevalence among the infected ticks (NIPHIS). In each year, NIPAll and NIPHIS was found to be associated with host relative abundances and diversity. For mice and chipmunks, the association with NIPAll was positive, but tended to be negative with NIPHIS in both years. However, the direction of association between shrew relative abundance with NIPAll or NIPHIS differed across the two years. And, diversity (H') had a negative association with NIPAll, but positive association with NIPHIS in both years. Our analyses highlight that the relationships between the relative abundances of three primary hosts and the community diversity with NIPAll, and NIPHIS, are variable in time and space, and that disease risk inference, based on the role of host community, changes when we examine risk overall or at the phenotypic level. Our discussion focuses on the observed relationships between prevalence and host community characteristics and how they substantiate the ecological understanding of phenotypic Lyme disease risk.

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<![CDATA[Environmental Factors Affecting Survival of Immature Ixodes scapularis and Implications for Geographical Distribution of Lyme Disease: The Climate/Behavior Hypothesis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daadab0ee8fa60ba9e4d

Recent reports suggest that host-seeking nymphs in southern populations of Ixodes scapularis remain below the leaf litter surface, while northern nymphs seek hosts on leaves and twigs above the litter surface. This behavioral difference potentially results in decreased tick contact with humans in the south, and fewer cases of Lyme disease. We studied whether north-south differences in tick survival patterns might contribute to this phenomenon. Four month old larvae resulting from a cross between Wisconsin males and South Carolina females died faster under southern than under northern conditions in the lab, as has previously been reported for ticks from both northern and southern populations. However, newly-emerged larvae from Rhode Island parents did not differ consistently in mortality under northern and southern conditions, possibly because of their younger age. Survival is lower, and so the north-south survival difference might be greater in older ticks. Larval survival was positively related to larval size (as measured by scutal area), while survival was positively related to larval fat content in some, but not all, trials. The difference in larval survival under northern vs. southern conditions might simply result from faster metabolism under warmer southern conditions leading to shorter life spans. However, ticks consistently died faster under southern than under northern conditions in the laboratory when relative humidity was low (75%), but not under moderate (85%) or high (95%) RH. Therefore, mortality due to desiccation stress is greater under southern than under northern conditions. We hypothesize that mortality resulting from the greater desiccation stress under southern conditions acts as a selective pressure resulting in the evolution of host-seeking behavior in which immatures remain below the leaf litter surface in southern I. scapularis populations, so as to avoid the desiccating conditions at the surface. If this hypothesis is correct, it has implications for the effect of climate change on the future distribution of Lyme disease.

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<![CDATA[Oral delivery of double-stranded RNAs induces mortality in nymphs and adults of the Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbd76

The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, is one of the most important citrus pests. ACP is the vector of the phloem-limited bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter americanus and Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, the causal agents of the devastating citrus disease huanglongbing (HLB). The management of HLB is based on the use of healthy young plants, eradication of infected plants and chemical control of the vector. RNA interference (RNAi) has proven to be a promising tool to control pests and explore gene functions. Recently, studies have reported that target mRNA knockdown in many insects can be induced through feeding with double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). In the current study, we targeted the cathepsin D, chitin synthase and inhibitor of apoptosis genes of adult and nymph ACP by feeding artificial diets mixed with dsRNAs and Murraya paniculata leaves placed in dsRNAs solutions, respectively. Adult ACP mortality was positively correlated with the amount of dsRNA used. Both nymphs and adult ACP fed dsRNAs exhibited significantly increased mortality over time compared with that of the controls. Moreover, qRT-PCR analysis confirmed the dsRNA-mediated RNAi effects on target mRNAs. These results showed that RNAi can be a powerful tool for gene function studies in ACP and perhaps for HLB control.

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<![CDATA[Asymmetric Spread of SRBSDV between Rice and Corn Plants by the Vector Sogatella furcifera (Hemiptera: Delphacidae)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da65ab0ee8fa60b91c61

Plant viruses are mostly transmitted by sucking insects via their piercing behaviors, which may differ due to host plant species and their developmental stages. We characterized the transmission of a fijivirus, southern rice black-streaked dwarf virus (SRBSDV), by the planthopper vector Sogatella furcifera Horváth (Hemiptera: Delphacidae), between rice and corn plants of varying developmental stages. SRBSDV was transmitted from infected rice to uninfected corn plants as efficiently as its transmission between rice plants, while was acquired by S. furcifera nymphs at a much lower rate from infected corn plants than from infected rice plants. We also recorded a high mortality of S. furcifera nymphs on corn plants. It is evident that young stages of both the virus donor and recipient plants added to the transmission efficiency of SRBSDV from rice to corn plants. Feeding behaviors of the vector recorded by electrical penetration graph showed that phloem sap ingestion, the behavioral event that is linked with plant virus acquisition, was impaired on corn plants, which accounts for the high mortality of and low virus acquisition by S. furcifera nymphs on corn plants. Our results reveal an asymmetric spread of SRBSDV between its two host plants and the underlying behavioral mechanism, which is of significance for assessing SRBSDV transmission risks and field epidemiology, and for developing integrated management approaches for SRBSDV disease.

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<![CDATA[Potential Host Manipulation by the Aphid Parasitoid Aphidius avenae to Enhance Cold Tolerance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dac8ab0ee8fa60bb3272

During parasitoid development, the immature parasitoid is confined to the host species. As a result, any potential to modify the physiology or behaviour of the host could play an important role in parasitoid fitness. The potential for host manipulation by the aphid parasitoid Aphidius avenae to increase cold thermotolerance was investigated using the aphid host species Metopolophium dirhodum and Sitobion avenae. Aphids were parasitized at L3/L4 instar stage (5 d old) and allowed to develop into pre-reproductive adults (10 d old) containing a 5 d old parasitoid larva. A control group was created of non-parasitized pre-reproductive adults (10 d old). The inherent physiological thermotolerance (LT50) and potential behavioural thermoregulation (behaviour in a declining temperature regime) of parasitized and non-parasitized aphids were investigated. Results revealed no effect of parasitism on the physiological thermotolerance of S. avenae and M. dirhodum. Significant differences in the behaviour of parasitized and non-parasitized aphids were observed, in addition to differences between host species, and such behaviours are discussed in view of the potential for host manipulation.

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<![CDATA[Wolbachia Has Two Different Localization Patterns in Whitefly Bemisia tabaci AsiaII7 Species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da20ab0ee8fa60b7eb65

The whitefly Bemisia tabaci is a cosmopolitan insect species complex that harbors the obligate primary symbiont Portiera aleyrodidarum and several facultative secondary symbionts including Wolbachia, which have diverse influences on the host biology. Here, for the first time, we revealed two different localization patterns of Wolbachia present in the immature and adult stages of B. tabaci AsiaII7 cryptic species. In the confined pattern, Wolbachia was restricted to the bacteriocytes, while in the scattered pattern Wolbachia localized in the bacteriocytes, haemolymph and other organs simultaneously. Our results further indicated that, the proportion of B. tabaci AsiaII7 individuals with scattered Wolbachia were significantly lower than that of confined Wolbachia, and the distribution patterns of Wolbachia were not associated with the developmental stage or sex of whitefly host. This study will provide a new insight into the various transmission routes of Wolbachia in different whitefly species.

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<![CDATA[DNA of Piroplasms of Ruminants and Dogs in Ixodid Bat Ticks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db01ab0ee8fa60bc6dc5

In this study 308 ticks (Ixodes ariadnae: 26 larvae, 14 nymphs, five females; I. vespertilionis: 89 larvae, 27 nymphs, eight females; I. simplex: 80 larvae, 50 nymphs, nine females) have been collected from 200 individuals of 17 bat species in two countries, Hungary and Romania. After DNA extraction these ticks were molecularly analysed for the presence of piroplasm DNA. In Hungary I. ariadnae was most frequently identified from bat species in the family Vespertilionidae, whereas I. vespertilionis was associated with Rhinolophidae. Ixodes ariadnae was not found in Romania. Four, four and one new bat host species of I. ariadnae, I. vespertilionis and I. simplex were identified, respectively. DNA sequences of piroplasms were detected in 20 bat ticks (15 larvae, four nymphs and one female). I. simplex carried piroplasm DNA sequences significantly more frequently than I. vespertilionis. In I. ariadnae only Babesia vesperuginis DNA was detected, whereas in I. vespertilionis sequences of both B. vesperuginis and B. crassa. From I. simplex the DNA of B. canis, Theileria capreoli, T. orientalis and Theileria sp. OT3 were amplified, as well as a shorter sequence of the zoonotic B. venatorum. Bat ticks are not known to infest dogs or ruminants, i.e. typical hosts and reservoirs of piroplasms molecularly identified in I. vespertilionis and I. simplex. Therefore, DNA sequences of piroplasms detected in these bat ticks most likely originated from the blood of their respective bat hosts. This may indicate either that bats are susceptible to a broader range of piroplasms than previously thought, or at least the DNA of piroplasms may pass through the gut barrier of bats during digestion of relevant arthropod vectors. In light of these findings, the role of bats in the epidemiology of piroplasmoses deserves further investigation.

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<![CDATA[Impact of environmental variables on Dubas bug infestation rate: A case study from the Sultanate of Oman]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be00b4

Date palm cultivation is economically important in the Sultanate of Oman, with significant financial investment coming from both the government and from private individuals. However, a global infestation of Dubas bug (Ommatissus lybicus Bergevin) has impacted the Middle East region, and infestations of date palms have been widespread. In this study, spatial analysis and geostatistical techniques were used to model the spatial distribution of Dubas bug infestations to (a) identify correlations between Dubas bug densities and different environmental variables, and (b) predict the locations of future Dubas bug infestations in Oman. Firstly, we considered individual environmental variables and their correlations with infestation locations. Then, we applied more complex predictive models and regression analysis techniques to investigate the combinations of environmental factors most conducive to the survival and spread of the Dubas bug. Environmental variables including elevation, geology, and distance to drainage pathways were found to significantly affect Dubas bug infestations. In contrast, aspect and hillshade did not significantly impact on Dubas bug infestations. Understanding their distribution and therefore applying targeted controls on their spread is important for effective mapping, control and management (e.g., resource allocation) of Dubas bug infestations.

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<![CDATA[Oral Immunization with OspC Does Not Prevent Tick-Borne Borrelia burgdorferi Infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e8ab0ee8fa60b6c0cf

Oral vaccination strategies are of interest to prevent transmission of Lyme disease as they can be used to deliver vaccines to humans, pets, and to natural wildlife reservoir hosts of Borrelia burgdorferi. We developed a number of oral vaccines based in E. coli expressing recombinant OspC type K, OspB, BBK32 from B. burgdorferi, and Salp25, Salp15 from Ixodes scapularis. Of the five immunogenic candidates only OspC induced significant levels of antigen-specific IgG and IgA when administered to mice via the oral route. Antibodies to OspC did not prevent dissemination of B. burgdorferi as determined by the presence of spirochetes in ear, heart and bladder tissues four weeks after challenge. Next generation sequencing of genomic DNA from ticks identified multiple phyletic types of B. burgdorferi OspC (A, D, E, F, I, J, K, M, Q, T, X) in nymphs that engorged on vaccinated mice. PCR amplification of OspC types A and K from flat and engorged nymphal ticks, and from heart and bladder tissues collected after challenge confirmed sequencing analysis. Quantification of spirochete growth in a borreliacidal assay shows that both types of spirochetes (A and K) survived in the presence of OspC-K specific serum whereas the spirochetes were killed by OspA specific serum. We show that oral vaccination of C3H-HeN mice with OspC-K induced significant levels of antigen-specific IgG. However, these serologic antibodies did not protect mice from infection with B. burgdorferi expressing homologous or heterologous types of OspC after tick challenge.

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<![CDATA[Molecular Species Delimitation and Morphology of Aquatic and Sub-Aquatic Bugs (Heteroptera) in Cameroon]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9daab0ee8fa60b674c0

Aquatic and semi-aquatic bugs (Heteroptera) represent a remarkable diversity and a resurging interest has been given to documenting at the species level these insects inhabiting Cameroon in Central Africa due to their potential implication in the transmission of the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans, the causal agent of Buruli ulcer, an emerging human disease. A survey was carried out over two years in Cameroon. Morphological analyses were done in two steps. A first step consisted in separating the specimens based on broadly shared characters into morphotypes. The specimens were then separated into two independent batches containing each the same representation of each morphotype. One batch (309 specimens) was used by taxonomy experts on aquatic bugs for species level identification and/or to reconcile nymph with their corresponding adult species. The second batch (188 specimens) was used to define species based on the COI DNA sequences (standard sequence used for “DNA barcoding”) and using the Automatic Barcode Gap Discovery (ABGD) method. The first morphological analysis step separated the specimens into 63 different morphotypes (49 adults and 14 nymphs), which were then found to belong to 54 morphological species in the infra-orders Gerromorpha and Nepomorpha based on the species-level morphological identification, and 41–45 putative molecular species according to the gap value retained in the ABGD. Integrating morphology and “DNA barcoding” reconciled all the specimens into 62 aquatic bug species in Cameroon. Generally, we obtained a good congruence between species a priori identified based on morphology from adult morphotypes and molecular putative species. Moreover, molecular identification has allowed the association of 86% of nymphs with adults. This work illustrates the importance of integrative taxonomy.

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<![CDATA[Ecology of the Tick-Borne Phlebovirus Causing Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome in an Endemic Area of China]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db24ab0ee8fa60bcfe50

Background

Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is caused by SFTS virus (SFTSV), a tick-borne phlebovirus in family Bunyaviridae. Studies have found that humans, domestic and wildlife animals can be infected by SFTSV. However, the viral ecology, circulation, and transmission remain largely unknown.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Sixty seven human SFTS cases were reported and confirmed by virus isolation or immunofluorescence assay between 2011 and 2014. In 2013–2014 we collected 9,984 ticks from either vegetation or small wild mammals in the endemic area in Jiangsu, China, and detected SFTSV-RNA by real-time RT-PCR in both questing and feeding Haemaphysalis longicornis and H. flava. Viral RNA was identified in larvae of H. longicornis prior to a first blood meal, which has never been confirmed previously in nature. SFTSV-RNA and antibodies were also detected by RT-PCR and ELISA, respectively, in wild mammals including Erinaceus europaeus and Sorex araneus. A live SFTSV was isolated from Erinaceus europaeus captured during the off tick-feeding season and with a high SFTSV antibody titer. Furthermore, SFTSV antibodies were detected in the migratory birds Anser cygnoides and Streptopelia chinensis using ELISA.

Conclusions/Significance

The detection of SFTSV-RNA in non-engorged larvae indicated that vertical transmission of SFTSV in H. longicornis might occur in nature, which suggests that H. longicornis is a putative reservoir host of SFTSV. Small wild mammals such as Erinaceus europaeus and Sorex araneus could be infected by SFTSV and may serve as natural amplifying hosts. Our data unveiled that wild birds could be infected with SFTSV or carry SFTSV-infected ticks and thus might contribute to the long-distance spread of SFTSV via migratory flyways. These findings provide novel insights for understanding SFTSV ecology, reservoir hosts, and transmission in nature and will help develop new measures in preventing its rapid spread both regionally and globally.

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<![CDATA[Two-Spotted Ladybeetle Adalia bipunctata L. (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae): A Commercially Available Predator to Control Asian Citrus Psyllid Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Liviidae)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9faab0ee8fa60b7186c

The Asian citrus psyllid Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Liviidae) is an economically important pest of citrus because it serves as a vector of the causal pathogens of huanglongbing (HLB) also known as citrus greening disease. The increased use of insecticides for control of D. citri negatively impacts several natural enemies including some effective ladybeetle species which are not available commercially. The two-spotted ladybeetle, Adalia bipunctata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) is found in some crop and forest ecosystems of Asia, Europe and North America and available commercially. It is known to attack aphids and mealybugs but there are no published records of feeding on psyllids. We evaluated suitability and preference of A. bipunctata for nymphs of D. citri compared to corn leaf aphid Rhopalosiphum maidis (Hemiptera: Aphididae) a global pest of cereal crops and prey for many predaceous insects. We also compared development and reproduction of A. bipunctata on these two species with frozen eggs of the Mediterranean flour moth Ephestia kuehniella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) at 25°C. Initially, more D. citri than R. maidis nymphs were consumed in the no-choice tests although final consumption by larva and adult of A. bipunctata did not differ in the choice and no-choice tests. Larval development was prolonged by one day on D. citri compared to R. maidis nymphs but did not differ between either of these diets and E. kuehniella. Larval survival to adult averaged 93–100% and was not impacted by diet. Adult life span did not differ between diets although those on D. citri and R. maidis nymphs weighed less and produced fewer but more fertile eggs than on E. kuehniella eggs. Significant reduction of D. citri nymphs averaging 54% was observed in colonies caged with adult A. bipunctata on field planted citrus. R° (net reproductive rate) was least for beetles fed R. maidis, but otherwise there were no significant differences in demographic parameters. Successful feeding, development and reproductive performance of A. bipunctata suggest its usefulness as biological control agent of D. citri as well as aphid species exemplified by R. maidis.

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<![CDATA[Impacts of human-related practices on Ommatissus lybicus infestations of date palm in Oman]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdb888

Date palm cultivation is economically important in the Sultanate of Oman, with significant financial investments coming from both the government and private individuals. However, a widespread Dubas bug (DB) (Ommatissus lybicus Bergevin) infestation has impacted regions including the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Russia, and Spain, resulting in widespread damages to date palms. In this study, techniques in spatial statistics including ordinary least squares (OLS), geographically weighted regression (GRW), and exploratory regression (ER) were applied to (a) model the correlation between DB infestations and human-related practices that include irrigation methods, row spacing, palm tree density, and management of undercover and intercropped vegetation, and (b) predict the locations of future DB infestations in northern Oman. Firstly, we extracted row spacing and palm tree density information from remote sensed satellite images. Secondly, we collected data on irrigation practices and management by using a simple questionnaire, augmented with spatial data. Thirdly, we conducted our statistical analyses using all possible combinations of values over a given set of candidate variables using the chosen predictive modelling and regression techniques. Lastly, we identified the combination of human-related practices that are most conducive to the survival and spread of DB. Our results show that there was a strong correlation between DB infestations and several human-related practices parameters (R2 = 0.70). Variables including palm tree density, spacing between trees (less than 5 x 5 m), insecticide application, date palm and farm service (pruning, dethroning, remove weeds, and thinning), irrigation systems, offshoots removal, fertilisation and labour (non-educated) issues, were all found to significantly influence the degree of DB infestations. This study is expected to help reduce the extent and cost of aerial and ground sprayings, while facilitating the allocation of date palm plantations. An integrated pest management (IPM) system monitoring DB infestations, driven by GIS and remote sensed data collections and spatial statistical models, will allow for an effective DB management program in Oman. This will in turn ensure the competitiveness of Oman in the global date fruits market and help preserve national yields.

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