Factors contributing to the economic impact of cotton fleahoppers, Pseudatomoscelis seriatus

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2012: $9,336.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Grant Recipient: Auburn University
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Micky Eubanks
Auburn University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: cotton


  • Crop Production: application rate management, tissue analysis
  • Pest Management: economic threshold, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems

    Proposal abstract:

    Cotton fleahoppers, Pseudatomoscelis seriatus, are piercing-sucking plant bugs (Hemiptera: Miridae) that are early season cotton pests. The economic impact of fleahoppers on cotton production has significantly increased in recent years because their populations have benefited from the decreased need for pesticide use against other key pests. Consequently, research is needed to aide development of sustainable fleahopper management strategies. Here two factors which may contribute to the economic impact of fleahoppers on cotton production in Texas are investigated. First, fleahopper pest management may be complicated by the existence of genetically-distinct fleahopper popoulations in Texas. Previously, it was found that fleahopper populations from Corpus Christi, TX, are genetically distinct from other fleahopper populations across the state. Genetic differentiation in the pest species can cause variability in response of the pest to management because each genotype may have distinct effects on host plant performance. Here the effects of fleahopper genotypes on cotton growth, development and yield are contrasted using standardized cotton monitoring techniques, SQUAREMAN, COTMAN and PMAP. Second, fleahopper management may be confounded by an increased susceptibility of cotton plants damaged by fleahoppers to other pests. Although cotton can tolerate some fleahopper damage, damage may increase the availably of carbon and nitrogen in the plant tissues for subsequent herbivores. Increased susceptibility exacerbates the need to spray insecticide, and limit cotton’s ability to compensate for fleahopper herbivory. Understanding how fleahoppers may alter the availability of nutrients for other herbivores in cotton will assist IPM practitioners to anticipate pest populations in fleahopper infested fields.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1)Characterize the effect of genetically distinct fleahopper populations on cotton growth, development and yield
    2)Investigate fleahopper induced pest susceptibility in cotton
    3)Determine the effect of fleahopper herbivory on carbon and nitrogen allocation of damaged cotton plants

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.