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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Punya Nachappa


Department of Biology

Sponsor Department/Program

Department of Biology


Thrips are economically damaging plant pests. Not only does the thrips feeding on crops cause damage but they also serve as vectors for plant diseases such as tospoviruses. These viruses cause diseases that damage crops and lead to severe yield loss around the world. Studies with tospovirus, Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus have shown that virus infection changes the feeding behavior of thrips, causing them to probe three times as often as uninfected thrips. The tospovirus, Soybean Vein Necrosis Virus is an emerging disease that is vectored by soybean thrips (Neohydatothrips variabilis). The objective of this study is to determine whether infection with SVNV causes changes in the feeding behavior of the soybean thrips vector. The feeding behaviors of thrips, either infected or uninfected with SVNV, are monitored using the electrical penetration graph (EPG) technique. Electrical penetration graphs (EPGs) record electrical signals or waveforms when mouthparts of piercing-sucking insects, such as thrips, probe into a plant. Different feeding activities produce different waveforms, which can be analyzed to determine insect feeding patterns. Our results show that feeding behavior of infected thrips is significantly different compared to uninfected thrips. It is found that the most common probe type for the infected thrips was non-ingestion probes. Non-ingestion probes not beneficial for the thrips because they not ingesting the cell content. However, non-ingestion probes are beneficial for the virus because they allow the virus to be transferred. These results emphasize the coordinated evolution between topsoviruses and their thrips vector.



Infection with Soybean Vein Necrosis Virus Alters Soybean Thrips’ Feeding Patterns

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