Early-season host switching in Adelphocoris spp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) of differing host breadth.
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The mirid bugs Adelphocoris suturalis (Jakovlev), Adelphocoris lineolatus (Goeze) and Adelphocoris fasciaticollis (Reuter) (Hemiptera: Miridae) are common pests of several agricultural crops. These three species have vastly different geographical distributions, phenologies and abundances, all of which are linked to their reliance on local plants. Previous work has shown notable differences in Adelphocoris spp. host use for overwintering. In this study, we assessed the extent to which each of the Adelphocoris spp. relies on some of its major overwinter hosts for spring development. Over the course of four consecutive years (2009-2012), we conducted population surveys on 77 different plant species from 39 families. During the spring, A. fasciaticollis used the broadest range of hosts, as it was found on 35 plant species, followed by A. suturalis (15 species) and A. lineolatus (7 species). Abundances of the species greatly differed between host plants, with A. fasciaticollis reaching the highest abundance on Chinese date (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.), whereas both A. suturalis and A. lineolatus preferred alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). The host breadths of the three Adelphocoris spp. differed greatly between subsequent spring and winter seasons. The generalist species exhibited the least host fidelity, with A. suturalis and A. lineolatus using 8 of 22 and 4 of 12 overwinter host species for spring development, respectively. By contrast, the comparative specialist A. fasciaticollis relied on 9 of its 11 overwinter plants as early-season hosts. We highlight important seasonal changes in host breadth and interspecific differences in the extent of host switching behavior between the winter and spring seasons. These findings benefit our understanding of the evolutionary interactions between mirid bugs and their host plants and can be used to guide early-season population management.
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