The hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae Annand (Hemiptera: Adelgidae), is a pest of eastern and Carolina hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carrière and Tsuga caroliniana Engelmann, respectively) in the eastern United States and has already caused catastrophic changes to eastern forests. As one of the significant exotic forest pests, it is imperative that the basic biology of hemlock woolly adelgid be understood for use in novel and improved management techniques. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy and enzyme assays were used to elucidate the feeding biology of hemlock woolly adelgid and are discussed in the context of the pest—plant interactions and the implications for host plant resistance. Morphological characters indicate that hemlock woolly adelgids may use labial sensilla and neural canals within the mandibular stylets to guide their stylets through close-range host acceptance processes. Stylet bundle insertion is likely assisted by external sheath material that secures the stylet bundle to the plant surface and mandibular dentitions that may assist entry into or within plant tissues. In addition, results support the theory that extra-oral digestion is likely used by hemlock woolly adelgid, suggested by both a narrow food canal and the presence of four trophically related enzymes (a trypsin-like enzyme, an amylase-like enzyme, peroxidase, and polyphenol oxidase). The presence of these enzymes also has implications for causing a systemic response in host trees.
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