Journal Article

Characterization of resistance to adult spittlebugs (Hemiptera: Cercopidae) in Brachiaria spp.

Nymphs and adults of several spittlebug (Hemiptera: Cercopidae) species are key pests of forage brachiariagrasses (Brachiaria spp.) in tropical America. To support current breeding programs, a series of experiments aimed at characterizing the mechanisms of resistance to adult feeding damage were carried out. Five genotypes were used: two susceptible checks (CIAT 0606 and CIAT 0654) and three nymph-resistant genotypes (CIAT 36087, CIAT 6294, and SX01NO/0102). Test insects were Aeneolamia varia (F.), A. reducta (Lallemand), and Zulia carbonaria (Lallemand). The nymphresistant genotypes showed tolerance to all spittlebug species tested. Tolerance in these genotypes can be classified as only moderate given the extent of losses (60–80%) caused by both female and male adults. None of the nymph-resistant genotypes had antibiotic effects on adults feeding on foliage. The results also indicated that antixenosis for feeding is not a plausible explanation for lower damage scores and less biomass losses in resistant genotypes. The fact that adult longevity (usually 8 d) was not affected when the adults were forced to feed on roots of a genotype with strong antibiotic resistance to nymphs is regarded as additional evidence that resistances to nymphs and to adults in Brachiaria are largely independent.