Infectivity and Transmission of Xylella fastidiosa by Philaenus spumarius (Hemiptera: Aphrophoridae) in Apulia, Italy
Discovery of Xylella fastidiosa from olive trees with "Olive quick decline syndrome" in October 2013 on the west coast of the Salento Peninsula prompted an immediate search for insect vectors of the bacterium. The dominant xylem-fluid feeding hemipteran collected in olive orchards during a 3-mo survey was the meadow spittlebug, Philaenus spumarius (L.) (Hemiptera: Aphrophoridae). Adult P. spumarius, collected in November 2013 from ground vegetation in X. fastidiosa-infected olive orchards, were 67% (40 out of 60) positive for X. fastidiosa by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. Euscelis lineolatus Brulle were also collected but tested negative for the pathogen. Transmission tests with P. spumarius collected from the Salento area were, therefore, conducted. After a 96-h inoculation access period with 8 to 10 insects per plant and a 30-d incubation period, PCR results showed P. spumarius transmitted X. fastidiosa to two of five periwinkle plants but not to the seven olive plants. Sequences of PCR products from infected periwinkle were identical with those from X. fastidiosa-infected field trees. These data showed P. spumarius as a vector of X. fastidiosa strain infecting olives trees in the Salento Peninsula, Italy.