The glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis (Germar), (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), is a xylophagous leafhopper native to the southeastern United States and northern Mexico, with recent introductions into California, Arizona, French Polynesia, and Hawaii. It is a primary vector of the xylem-limited bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa Wells et al., the causative agent of Pierce’s disease of grape, citrus variegated chlorosis, phony peach, and numerous leaf scorch diseases. H. vitripennis uses several hundred species of host plants for feeding, development, and reproduction. Variation in host utilization allows H. vitripennis to respond to diurnal and seasonal changes in its nutrient-poor food source, xylem fluid, as well as changing nutritional requirements of each leafhopper developmental stage. Here we provide a conceptual model that integrates behavior, life history strategies, and their associated risks with the nutritional requirements of adult and nymphal stages of H. vitripennis. The model is a useful heuristic tool that explains patterns of host plant use, describes insect behavior and ecology, suggests new associations among the ecological components, and most importantly, identifies and supports the development of suppression strategies for X. fastidiosa aimed at reducing vector populations through habitat manipulation.
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