IDENTIFICATION OF CIRCULIFER HAEMATOCEPS HEMIPTERA:CICADELLIDAE AS VECTOR OF SPIROPLASMA CITRI IN THE KERMAN PROVINCE OF IRAN
M. Omidi, A. Hosseini-Pour, H. Rahimian, H. Massumi, C. Saillard
A study of leafhoppers collected in citrus-growing areas of Kerman province as vectors of Spiroplasma citri, the causal agent of citrus stubborn disease, was carried out by transmission tests to liquid medium and/or to healthy periwinkle plants. From seven field-collected leafhopper species only Orosius albicinctus and Circulifer haematoceps delivered S. citri into LD10 broth medium by feeding through parafilm membrane and C. haematoceps was the sole leafhopper species capable of transmitting S. citri to healthy periwinkle plants. C. haematoceps, O. albicinctus and Austroagallia sinuata collected from sesame fields in citrus- growing areas, were raised on garden stock and sesame plants in the greenhouse. For S. citri acquisition, each progeny leafhopper colony was caged on S. citri infected periwinkles. After the acquisition access period leafhoppers were transferred to healthy periwinkle plants. Detection of spiroplasmas in leafhoppers was done by PCR performed separately on insect bodies and heads. Spiroplasmas were detected in the bodies of all three leafhopper species but in the head of C. haematoceps only. Symptoms typical of S. citri infection were observed only on periwinkle plants fed on by C. haematoceps. Results indicate that among the leafhoppers species collected in Kerman province, only C. haematoceps was capable of transmitting S. citri, and the other two species while capable of acquiring S. citri, were unable to transmit it to healthy plants.