General Insect Category
All sucking insects that feed on xylem sap may be vectors ofXylella fastidiosa. Vectors acquire the bacterium by feeding oninfected plants. The
bacteria appear to adhere to the foregut (betweenthe needle-like
mouthparts and the stomach) and are then transmitted byinfective
vectors to other plants. Vectors remain infectiveindefinitely after
picking up the bacteria with the exception that theyno longer are able
to transmit after they shed their external skeletonby molting. After
molting, insects must feed again on an infected plant before they can
transmit the bacterium.
All known vectors of X. fastidiosa
belong to the insectsuborder Homoptera. The main vector groups are
leafhoppers (familyCicadellidae) in the subfamily Cicadellinae. Many of
these are commonlycalled sharpshooters. Spittlebugs or froghoppers
(family Cercopidae) arealso vectors. Cicadas (family Cicadidae) are
also xylem feeders but sofar there are no published reports of their
being tested as vectors.
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