Nutritional and physiological regulation of glassy-winged sharpshooter oogenesis.
The glassy-winged sharpshooter (Homalodisca vitripennis (Germar); Hemiptera: Cicadellidae: Cicadellinae) is an invasive insect that transmits the plant pathogenic bacterium Xylella fastidiosa Wells et al. (Xanthomonadales: Xanthomonadacae). While adult glassy-winged sharpshooter must feed to produce eggs, the role of nutritional status on initiating oogenesis is poorly understood. To determine the effects of glassy-winged sharpshooter nutrition on nymphal development, oogenesis, and fecundity, glassy-winged sharpshooter were reared on cowpea, sunflower, sorghum, and a mixture of the three plant species. Adults emerging from cowpea, sunflower, or plant mixture treatments had shorter development times, attained larger size, and had greater estimated lipid reserves than females reared on sorghum. In choice tests, nymphs avoided sorghum and preferentially fed on cowpea and sunflower. Adult females provisioned with a single plant species during the nymphal stage were provided with either the same host plant species or a mixture of host plant species (cowpea, sunflower, sorghum) for a 9-wk oviposition period, with 37% of females initiating oogenesis. Ovipositing females had greater juvenile hormone and octopamine levels than reproductively inactive females, although topical application of the juvenile hormone analog Methoprene did not promote oogenesis. Across nymphal diets, reproductively active females produced more eggs when held on plant mixtures than on single plant species. In choice tests, adult females were observed most frequently on cowpea, although most eggs were deposited on sorghum, the host least preferred by nymphs. Results suggest that fecundity is largely determined by the quality of the adult diet, although the stimulus that initiates oogenesis does not appear to be related to nutrition.