Review of the EPG Waveforms of Sharpshooters and Spittlebugs Including Their Biological Meanings in Relation to Transmission of Xylella fastidiosa (Xanthomonadales: Xanthomonadaceae)

Text - scientific article/review article


Electropenetrography (EPG) is one of the most rigorous methods to study stylet probing behaviors of piercing-sucking insects whose mouthparts move invisibly inside hosts. EPG is particularly useful for identifying vector behaviors that control transmission (acquisition, retention, and inoculation) of plant pathogens, comparing those behaviors among vector species, and aiding in development of novel vector and disease management tactics. Xylella fastidiosa (Wells et al.) is a gram-negative, invasive bacterium native to the Americas, where it is the causal agent of lethal scorch-type diseases such as Pierce's disease of grapevines. Xylella fastidiosa is transmitted by sharpshooter leafhoppers (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae: Cicadellinae) and spittlebugs (Hemiptera: Aphrophoridae). Despite over 75 yr of study, details of the inoculation mechanism of X. fastidiosa were unknown until the advent of EPG research with sharpshooters. Herein, the following topics are presented: 1) review of key EPG principles and waveforms published to date, emphasizing sharpshooters and spittlebugs; 2) summary of present understanding of biological meanings of sharpshooter waveforms; 3) review of mechanisms of transmission for X. fastidiosa illuminated by EPG; and 4) recommendations of the most useful waveform categories for EPG use in future, quantitative comparisons of sharpshooter stylet probing on various treatments such as infected versus uninfected plants, resistant varieties, or insecticide treatments. In addition, new work on the functional anatomy of the precibarial valve is discussed in the context of X. fastidiosa transmission and EPG waveforms. Also, the first block diagram of secondary, signalprocessing circuits for the AC-DC EPG is published, and is discussed in relation to EPG signals appearances and meanings.


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  • Aphrophoridae
  • Cicadellidae
  • Xylella fastidiosa


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