Persistence of the exotic mirid nesidiocoris tenuis (Hemiptera: Miridae) in south Texas

Gabriela Esparza-Diaz, Thiago Marconi, Carlos A. Avila, Raul T. Villanueva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Rio Grande Valley is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the U.S and is located in the southernmost part of Texas. In October 2013, we detected an exotic plant bug, Nesidiocoris tenuis Reuter (Hemiptera: Miridae: Bryocorinae) occurring in the region. Nesidiocoris tenuis has zoophytophagous habits; however, in the absence of insect prey, it feeds on its plant hosts. After its morphological and genetic identification, this study monitored the population of N. tenuis in its introduction phase in commercial fields and corroborated its establishment in research fields for three years. Populations of N. tenuis were high during the fall and low during winter. This study found that N. tenuis populations were higher in tomato fields as compared to adjacent pepper, okra, and squash fields, indicating its host preferences during the introduction phase. Recurrent population growth patterns suggest that N. tenuis was established in Rio Grande Valley with permanent populations in tomato fields. In addition, N. tenuis populations were affected by tomato cultivar selection and by plastic mulch color. The presence of N. tenuis could establish a new trophic insect relationship for vegetable production. However, it is unknown if the presence of N. tenuis may help to control pests of economic importance, such as whiteflies in cotton, or become a pest on sesame, an emerging crop.

Original languageEnglish
Article number715
JournalInsects
Volume12
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported in part by funds from the Organic Transition Program–NIFA– USDA, grant No. 2010-51106-21803, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research starting funds assigned to C.A.A.

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by funds from the Organic Transition Program–NIFA– USDA, grant No. 2010-51106-21803, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research starting funds assigned to C.A.A. Acknowledgments: We express our gratitude to Thomas Henry (USDA Systematic Entomology Laboratory in the National Museum of Natural History in Beltsville MD) for the identification of this insect; we thank the farmers for giving us access to their farms. We give our appreciation to S. Sanchez, A. Olguin, J. Wendel, and J. Zamora for their help in this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Biocontrol agent
  • Invasive pest
  • Mirid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science

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