High temperatures decrease the flight capacity of Diaphorina citri kuwayama (Hemiptera: Liviidae).
Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Liviidae), commonly known as Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), is an invasive insect pest and the vector of the bacterium causing Huanglongbing (HLB), a lethal disease of citrus. In the United States, ACP has been established in all citrus-producing zones, all of which have different environmental conditions. The spread of ACP and, more importantly, HLB, has progressed differently depending on the state, with more rapid spread in Florida and Texas than in California. Climatic variations between the regions are likely a strong factor in the difference in the rate of spread. Despite this, it is unknown how the flight capacity of D. citri is influenced by high temperatures (>30°C) and subsequently, low humidity experienced in California but not in Texas or Florida. In this study, by using a custom-made, temperature-controlled flight mill arena, we assessed the effect of high temperatures on the flight capacity and flight propensity of D. citri under low (20-40%) and high (76-90%) relative humidity conditions. We found that temperature and humidity influence the propensity to engage in short or long-distance flight events. Psyllids exposed to temperatures above 43°C only performed short flights (<60 s), and a high relative humidity significantly decrease the proportion of long flights (≥60 s) at 26 and 40°C. The flight capacity for insects who engaged in short and long flights was significantly affected by temperature but not by humidity. For long flyers, temperature (in the 26-43°C range) was negatively correlated with distance flown and flight duration. The most favorable temperature for long dispersion was 26°C, with suboptimal temperatures in the range of 32-37°C and the least favorable temperatures at 40 and 43°C. In conclusion, D. citri is able to fly in a broad range of temperatures and efficiently fly in high and low humidity. However, temperatures above 40°C, similar to those experienced in semi-arid environments like Southern California or Arizona, are detrimental for its flight capacity.