Project Summary

Development of an integrated information and identification system for native and potentially invasive delphacid planthoppers (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Fulgoroidea)

Delphacid planthoppers are high-consequence agricultural pests, with 30 species known to vector 27 plant viral pathogens, with hosts including rice, corn, sugarcane, barley, oats, wheat, taro, and sorghum (any a phytoplasma in sugarcane).  In spite of their importance, planthopper expertise is very limited, and information resources (particularly pertaining to North America) are scattered in an obscure, technical, and often dated primary scientific literature.   This project will develop an online rapid diagnostic tool and information system for 322 native and adventive North American delphacid planthoppers, plus 42 potentially invasive species.  

The expert system, developed using Lucid3, will assist monitoring and rapid response to high-consequence species by providing rapid online identification tools and information system to APHIS inspectors and state identifiers so they can rapidly assess the significance of identified species and respond with appropriate measures. Beta-testing of Lucid tools will be assisted by APHIS-PPQ.  An interactive morphology guide will assist users with technical terminology.  National and regional “Pest Alert” fact sheets will be developed in cooperation with the North Central IPM center for critical taxa.  As part of the development of identification tools, two students will be trained in systematic entomology by revising monophyletic segregates of the polyphyletic genus Delphacodes

Student projects will include morphological taxonomic revision and phylogenetic analyses using combined morphological and molecular tools, and will assist in the development of online resources.   This project will greatly assist decision makers with knowledge and support tools to respond and prevent damage from high consequence planthoppers and their vectored pathogens.