Entomology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Economic Entomology 108:4 (2015), pp. 1545–1552; doi: 10.1093/jee/tov185.


Copyright © 2015 E. N. Wosula, A. J. McMechan, and G. L. Hein. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. Used by permission.


The wheat curl mite, Aceria tosichella Keifer, is an eriophyid pest of wheat, although its primary economic impact on wheat is due to the transmission of Wheat streak mosaic (WSMV), Wheat mosaic (also known as High Plains virus), and Triticum mosaic (TriMV) viruses. These viruses cause significant annual losses in winter wheat production throughout the western Great Plains. Temperature and humidity are factors that often influence arthropod survival, especially during dispersal from their hosts, yet the impact of these two factors on off-host survival has not been documented for wheat curl mite. Pathogen- infected host plants often influence the biology and behavior of vectors, yet it is not known if virus-infected wheat affects off-host survival of wheat curl mite. The objectives of this study were to 1) determine if temperature, relative humidity, and mite genotype impact off-host survival of wheat curl mite and 2) determine the effect of WSMV- and TriMV-infected host plants on off-host survival of wheat curl mite. Temperature and relative humidity significantly affected off-host survival of wheat curl mite. Length of survival decreased with increasing temperature (106.2 h at 10°C and 17.0 h at 30°C) and decreasing relative humidity (78.1 h at 95 and 21.3 h at 2%). Mites from TriMV-infected host plants had ~20% reduction in survival at 20°C compared with those from WSMV-infected plants. The duration of off-host survival of wheat curl mite is influenced by environmental conditions. Management strategies that target a break in host presence will greatly reduce mite densities and virus spread and need to account for these limits.

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