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Survey of Rose Rosette Virus and its eriophyid mite vector in the Deep South

Katherine Solo: University of Tennessee

<div>Rose rosette disease has destroyed thousands of roses in the United States. The disease agent, <em>Rose Rosette Virus</em> (RRV), is vectored by the eriophyid mite, <em>Phyllocoptes fructiphilus</em>. Parts of the southeastern United States have remained free of the disease, except for disease introductions that were eradicated. A survey of Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi plots (n = 204) have revealed the southeastern border of RRV. The presence of RRV in symptomatic samples was confirmed by RT-PCR. Samples were also collected at each plot for detection of eriophyid mites, specifically for <em>P. fructiphilus</em>. Through isolation, staining, and light microscopy, mite species were identified. Mites were found to be generally distributed throughout the Deep South, however many of these sites contained eriophyid mites that were not <em>P. fructiphilus</em>. The reasons that <em>P. fructiphilus</em> are not commonly found on roses in the Deep South, as in other locations in the Mid-South, are unknown. The lack of vector populations in the Deep South may explain the absence of RRV in those areas.</div>