Florida's rice stink bug complex comprises three species; Oebalus pugnax (F.), O. insularis (Stal), and O. ypsilongriseus (DeGeer), the latter two of which are invasive and exclusive to Florida within the United States. A series of surveys were conducted in 2017 and 2018 to determine the relative abundance of the three species throughout Florida's rice growing region within the Everglades Agricultural Area, in addition to comparing their seasonality within crop and noncrop habitats. Sampling occurred in commercial rice fields and adjacent transects of graminaceous noncrop hosts using sweep nets. Oebalus pugnax (52.7%) and O. insularis (61.7%) were the most abundant species in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Both species were more prevalent in rice fields compared to transects of noncrop hosts. Oebalus ypsilongriseus remained in low abundance relative to O. pugnax and O. insularis, and did not differ in numbers collected among rice and noncrop hosts. Of the noncrop hosts in transects, Panicum dichotomiflorum (fall panicum) was the most abundant across both years. This study is the first report of Oebalus species feeding on Echinochloa crus-galli (common barnyardgrass) in Florida. This study shows that the invasive O. insularis continues to increase in abundance, and has surpassed O. pugnax in terms of regional populations. These results emphasize the need for additional studies to assess the interactions among O. insularis and other Oebalus species in addition to its feeding behavior in Florida rice.
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Vol. 113 • No. 3