Fiji leaf gall, caused the Fiji disease virus (genus Fijivirus, family Reoviridae, FDV), is a serious disease of sugarcane, Saccharum officinarum L., in Australia and several other Asia-Pacific countries. In Australia FDV is transmitted only by the planthopper Perkinsiella saccharicida Kirkaldy (Hemiptera: Delphacidae), in a propagative manner. Successful transmission of FDV by single planthoppers confined to individual virus free plants is highly variable, even under controlled conditions. The research reported here addresses two possible sources of this variation: 1) gender, wing form, and life stage of the planthopper; and 2) genotype of the source plant. The acquisition of FDV by macropterous males, macropterous females, brachypterous females, and nymphs of P. saccharicida from infected plants was investigated using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction to diagnose FDV infection in the vector. The proportion of individuals infected with FDV was not statistically related to life stage, gender, or adult wing form of the vector. The acquisition of FDV by P. saccharicida from four cultivars of sugarcane was compared to assess the influence of plant genotype on acquisition. Those planthopper populations reared on diseased ‘NCo310′ plants had twice as many infected planthoppers as those reared on ‘Q110′, ‘WD1′, and ‘WD2′. Therefore, variation in FDV acquisition in this system is not the result of variation in the gender, wing form and life stage of the P. saccharicida vectors. The cultivar used as the source plant to rear vector populations does affect the proportion of infected planthoppers in a population.
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Vol. 101 • No. 1