We examined the population dynamics of the corn planthopper Peregrinus maidis (Ashmead) (Hemiptera: Delphacidae) throughout a cycle of corn (Zea mays L.) production on plants with or without symptoms of maize mosaic virus (MMV) (Rhabdoviridae: Nucleorhabdovirus) infection. Our results indicate that the timing of MMV plant infection greatly influenced the planthopper's host plant colonization patterns. Corn plants that expressed symptoms of MMV infection early in the crop cycle (28 d after planting) harbored, on average, 40 and 48% fewer planthoppers than plants that expressed symptoms of MMV infection later in the crop cycle (49 d after planting) and asymptomatic plants, respectively. We also observed a change in the number of brachypterous (short-wing type) and macropterous (long-wing type) winged forms produced; plants expressing early symptoms of MMV infection harbored, on average, 41 and 47% more of the brachypterous form than plants with late infections of MMV and plants with no symptoms of MMV, respectively. Furthermore, we determined the rates of MMV-infected planthoppers relative to their wing morphology (macropterous or brachypterous) and gender. MMV infection was 5 and 12% higher in females than in males in field and greenhouse experiments, respectively; however, these differences were not significantly different. This research provides evidence that MMV similarly infects P. maidis planthoppers regardless of the gender and wing morphotype. These results also suggest that the timing of symptom development greatly affects the population dynamics of the planthopper vector, and likely has important consequences for the dynamics of the disease in the field.
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Vol. 42 • No. 5