Both nymphal and adult stages of several species of spittlebugs (Hemiptera: Cercopidae) are key economic pests of brachiariagrasses (Brachiaria spp.) in tropical America. Progress has been made in the characterization and development of antibiosis resistance to nymphs in brachiariagrasses. Essentially no attention has been given to screening germplasm for resistance to adults. To support current breeding programs, a series of experiments was conducted to develop a methodology to screen for adult damage and to study categories of resistance to adult feeding damage. Six host brachiariagrass genotypes were used: two susceptible checks (CIAT 0606 and CIAT 0654) and four nymph-resistant genotypes (CIAT 6294, CIAT 36062, CIAT 36087, and SX01NO/0102). Test insects were Aeneolamia varia (F.) and Zulia carbonaria (Lallemand). None of the nymph-resistant genotypes was antibiotic to adults. All four nymph-resistant genotypes showed tolerance to A. varia and Z. carbonaria feeding damage. The levels of tolerance to adults of Z. carbonaria, a larger, more aggressive species, were lower. Of the four nymph-resistant genotypes, only CIAT 6294 and CIAT 36087 showed some tolerance to Z. carbonaria expressed as lower leaf damage scores, less chlorophyll loss, and lower functional plant loss indices. The fact that a genotype like SX01NO/0102, which is highly antibiotic to nymphs, is susceptible to adult damage suggests that mechanisms of resistance to the two spittlebug life stages may be independent. Results of these studies suggest a need to incorporate routine screening for tolerance to adult feeding damage as an additional selection criterion in the breeding scheme.
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Vol. 102 • No. 3