The Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama, is the vector of the bacterial pathogen, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, which is the causal agent of huanglongbing (HLB) in the United States. Both short-range and long-range dispersal of D. citri adults affect the spread of HLB; however, little is known about the long-range dispersal capabilities of D. citri in the field or the seasonality of flight behavior. In the present study, an in situ protein marking technique was used to determine the dispersal of D. citri by trapping marked adults under natural field conditions. D. citri movement from abandoned citrus groves to adjacent managed citrus groves was greatest during the spring and summer months and decreased significantly during the colder months (September–March). D. citri were able to traverse potential geographic barriers such as roads and fallow fields. In an experiment conducted to determine long-range dispersal capacity in the absence of severe weather events, D. citri were able to disperse at least 2 km within 12 d. Wind direction was not correlated with the number of marked psyllids captured, indicating substantial flight capability by D. citri. Finally, the number of marked psyllids captured increased with the density of emerging young leaves on surrounding trees. The results confirm that abandoned citrus groves in Florida serve as reservoirs for D. citri, which can disperse across long distances despite geographical barriers.
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