The potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli (Sulc) (Hemiptera: Triozidae), is a vector of the bacterium “Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum,” the putative causal agent of potato zebra chip disease that has seriously affected the potato industry in the Central and Southwestern United States for the past decade. The 2011 potato growing season saw the first report of zebra chip disease in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho; however, B. cockerelli has been recorded in this region every season at least for the past 7 yr. Studies were conducted to determine the relationship between psyllids collected from the Pacific Northwest potatoes in 2011 and those from the Southwestern and Central United States. High resolution melting analysis of the B. cockerelli mitochondrial Cytochrome C Oxidase subunit I-like gene was conducted on over 450 psyllids collected from numerous locations across the Central and Western United States. Results suggest that at least three potato psyllid haplotypes exist in the United States, correlating to the Central, Western, and Northwestern United States geographical regions. The high resolution melting analysis results were subsequently supported by DNA sequencing data.
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Vol. 41 • No. 4