Fiji disease (FD) of sugar cane caused by Fiji disease virus (FDV) is transmitted by the planthopper Perkinsiella saccharicida Kirkaldy (Hemiptera: Delphacidae). FD is effectively managed by using resistant cultivars, but whether the resistance is for the vector or for the virus is unknown. This knowledge would help develop a rapid and reliable glasshouse-based screening method for disease resistance. Sugar cane cultivars resistant, intermediate, and susceptible to FD were screened in a glasshouse, and the relationship between vector preferences and FD incidence was studied. Cultivar preference by nymphs increased with an increase in cultivar susceptibility to FD, but the relationship between adult preference and FD resistance was not significant. There was a positive correlation between the vector population and FD incidence, and the latent period for symptom expression declined with the increase in the vector populations. FD incidence in the glasshouse trial reflected the field-resistance status of sugar cane cultivars with known FD-resistance scores. The results suggest that resistance to FD in sugar cane is mediated by cultivar preference of the planthopper vector.
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Vol. 96 • No. 1