Cotton fleahopper [Pseudatomoscelis seriatus (Reuter)] (Hemiptera: Miridae) is one of the most damaging insect pests of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) in Texas and Oklahoma because of their feeding on small floral buds which are termed squares. Damage to early season squares can reduce yield, delay crop maturity and increase the risk of crop loss because of late season insect pests and adverse weather. Insecticide applications are the only control tactic. The objectives of this study were to determine the tolerance to cotton fleahopper injury to squares among upland cotton genotypes representing the adapted germplasm pools and breeding lines available to cotton breeders in the United States and to evaluate leaf hairiness as a resistant trait. Results of the choice and no-choice trials indicated that four entries, ‘Stoneville 474’, ‘Suregrow 747’, ‘Deltapine 50’, and ‘TAM 96WD-22 h’, were more tolerant to cotton fleahopper injury relative to the other 11 entries. In choice trials, cotton fleahopper density was significantly correlated with the density of trichomes on leaves, bracts and stems. However, there was no correlation between cotton fleahopper density and percent square damage in the choice trials, suggesting that in some genotypes the response to feeding injury is mediated by host plant resistance factors expressed as tolerance. Results of the no-choice studies also indicate that some genotypes express tolerance to cotton fleahopper feeding.
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Vol. 106 • No. 2