Feeding and Reproductive Hosts of Spissistilus festinus (Say) (Hemiptera: Membracidae) Found in Californian Vineyards.J Econ Entomol. 2018 12 14; 111(6):2531-2535.JE
Grapevine red blotch virus (GRBV) currently poses a serious threat to the wine industry. The three-cornered alfalfa hopper (3CAH), Spissistilus festinus (Say) (Hemiptera: Membracidae), was recently shown in a greenhouse study to be a vector of GRBV in grapes. Feeding and reproductive status of 10 weed and 10 cover crop species commonly found in grape vineyards were evaluated in no-choice tests. Species confirmed as reproductive hosts were subsequently evaluated in choice tests to determine S. festinus oviposition preference. Spanish clover, dandelion, birdsfoot trefoil, common groundsel, field bindweed, magnus peas, bell beans, blando brome, purple vetch, black medick, subterranean clover, crimson clover, and woollypod vetch were all found to be reproductive hosts. The plant species that exhibited the greatest nymph emergence in each of the three groups tested for preference were all in the family Fabaceae. Knowledge of plant species present in vineyards that serve as alternative hosts for S. festinus can contribute to developing management strategies to mitigate virus spread.