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First record of Empoasca kraemeri (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) attacking sweet potato in Brazil.

The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam., Convolvulaceae) is cultivated throughout the national territory of Brazil, presenting great phenotypic and genotypic diversity (Santos et al. 2018). The plant has a wide spectrum of potential uses, making it a species of economic interest, mainly for developing countries with food shortages. Therefore, sweet potato is grown in more than 100 countries, making it 1 of the world's 7 most important sources of food (FAO 2016). Cultivation can be designated for animal and human consumption, cosmetic, fabric, paper, preparation of adhesives, and alcohol fuel industries, as well as raw materials for food (Cardoso et al. 2005; Castro et al. 2018; dos Santos et al. 2018).

Among the most damaging sweet potato pests in Brazil are Bedellia somnulentella Zeller (Lepidoptera: Bedelliidae), Diabrotica speciosa Germar (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), Euscepes postfasciatus Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), Megastes pusialis Snellen (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), and the mites Tetranychus ludeni Zacher and Tetranychus urticae Koch (Acari: Tetranychidae) (Soares et al. 2012; dos Santos et al. 2018), all with the capacity to cause production losses.

The objective of this study was to report, for the first time, the attack and impact of the Empoasca kraemeri Ross & Moore (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) on sweet potato germplasm in Brazil.

Adult and immature E. kraemeri (Fig. 1A-D) were observed in the Vegetable Crops sector at the Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri (UFVJM) in Diamantina, Minas Gerais State, Brazil (18.166600[degrees]S, 43.500000[degrees]W; 1,387 masl). The insects were detected between Sep and Dec 2017 in a bank of sweet potato germplasm, grown in soil beds within a greenhouse. The mean air temperature and relative air humidity of these months were 20.6 [degrees]C and 66.7% (INMET 2018), respectively. Physical injuries were caused by E. kraemeri penetrating the stylet into the phloem of the plant, creating chlorotic spots on the leaves and necrosis (Fig. 1C, D).

Adults of E. kraemeri were collected and killed in 70% alcohol, and taken to the Agricultural Entomology Laboratory of the University to confirm the identification. The identified samples were deposited in the entomological collection of the Museum of Entomology of the University.

Empoasca kraemeri is widely distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of the world (Singh & Allen 1979). This pest occurs in the abaxial and adaxial leaf surfaces. In the third instar, the nymph can easily be seen and identified by its rapid lateral movement. Adults of E. kraemeri are green, and measure about 4 mm in length. The mean longevity of these adults is 60 d (Gallo et al. 2002). The egg incubation period is about 10 d, and the immature period lasts between 8 and 10 d (Gallo et al. 2002). Higher infestations may lead to changes in plant growth, which demonstrate downward facing leaf edges with reduced size (Boica Junior et al. 2000).

The species was observed attacking other crops with economic importance, ultimately causing damage, such as Jatropha curcas L. (Euphorbiaceae) (Laviola et al. 2010), Manihot esculenta Crantz (Euphorbiaceae) (Pamplona et al. 2009), Phaseolus vulgaris L. (Fabaceae), and Ricinus communis L. (Euphorbiaceae) (Santos et al. 2009), all records for Brazil. There is also a report of E. kraemeri attacking sweet potatoes in Peru (Langlitz 1964).

The geographic record of the presence of phytophagous species and the identification of their hosts are important for the design of local strategies for integrated pest management (IPM) (Pires et al. 2011). This is the first report of E. kraemeri damaging I. batatas, in the municipality of Diamantina (average temperature of 19 [degrees]C), and shows that this pest now warrants integration into Brazilian sweet potato pest monitoring programs.

The authors thank the Brazilian agencies "Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientffico e Tecnologico (CNPq)" and "Fundacao de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG)" for scholarships and financial support. This study was financed in part by the "Coordenacao de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior (CAPES)" of Brazil, Finance Code 001.


Empoasca kraemeri Ross & Moore (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) is a phytophagous species widely found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. This species is associated with several agricultural crops, where they are established due to food supply and favorable developmental conditions. The objective was to record the occurrence and damage caused by E. kraemeri in sweet potato germoplasm in Diamantina, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Physical injuries were caused by E. kraemeri penetrating the stylet into the phloem of the plant, creating chlorotic spots on the leaves with posterior necrosis. This insect has the potential to cause severe damage. Thus, it is important to include E kraemeri in integrated pest management programs for the sweet potato.

Keywords: integrated pest management; leafhopper; Ipomoea batatas


Empoasca kraemeri Ross & Moore (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) e uma especie fitofaga amplamente encontrada em regioes tropicais e subtropicais do mundo. Esta especie esta associada a varias culturas agricolas, onde se estabelecem devido ao fornecimento de alimentos e condicoes favoraveis de desenvolvimento. 0 objetivo foi registrar a ocorrencia e danos de E. kraemeri, atacando um banco de germoplasma de batata doce no municipio de Diamantina, estado de Minas Gerais, Brasil. Injurias foram causadas por E. kraemeri ao penetrar os estiletes no floema da planta, provocando manchas cloroticas nas folhas com posterior necrose. Este inseto tern o potencial de causar danos severos. Assim, e importante incluir E. kraemeri no manejo integrado de pragas da batata doce.

Palavras Chave: cigarrinha; Ipomoea batatas; manejo integrado de pragas

References Cited

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Michael Willian Rocha de Souza (1), Natalia Oliveira Silva (1), Verissimo Gibran Mendes de Sa (2), Germano Leao Demolin Leite (3), Jose Cola Zanuncio (4), and Marcus Alvarenga Soares (1,*)

(1) Programs de Pos-Graduacao em Producao Vegetal, Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri, Diamantina, 39100-000, Minas Gerais, Brazil; E-mail: (M. W. R. S.), (N. O. S.), (M. A. S.)

(2) DowDuPont, 9330 Zionsville Road, Indianapolis, Indiana 46268, USA; E-mail: (V G. M. S.)

(3) Institute de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Montes Claros, 39404-547, Minas Gerais, Brazil; E-mail: (G. L. D. L.)

(4) Departamento de Entomologia/BIOAGRO, Universidade Federal de Vicosa, Vicosa, 36570-900, Minas Gerais, Brazil; E-mail: (J. C. Z.)

(*) Corresponding author; E-mail:

Caption: Fig. 1. Adults of Empoasca kraemeri (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) on sweet potato leaves (A, B), immature (C) and resulting injuries; chlorotic spots (C, D) Diamantina, Minas Gerais State, Brazil, in 2017.

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Author:Souza, Michael Willian Rocha de; Silva, Natalia Oliveira; Sa, Verissimo Gibran Mendes de; Leite, Ger
Publication:Florida Entomologist
Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:Sep 1, 2019
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