Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843.
The potato/tomato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli transmits the bacterium ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’, also known as ‘Ca. L. psyllaurous’, which causes zebra chip disease in solanaceous crops. There have been no studies addressing the effect of the bacterial plant pathogen on the biology of its insect vector. We examined several life-history traits, including 7-day fecundity, hatching percentage, incubation time, nymphal survival percentage, nymphal development time, total development time, and sex-ratio of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’-positive and -negative psyllid isofemale lines on tomato, as well as adult mortality index of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’-positive and -negative insects. The only two life-history traits that differed between the ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’-positive and –negative psyllid isofemale lines were 7-day fecundity and nymphal survival percentage, which were significantly lower in ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’- positive lines. The symbiotic bacteria associated with both psyllid isofemale lines were similar, with the exception of ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’, which showed 100% infection in the ‘Ca. L. solanacearum’-positive lines and was not detected in the negative psyllid lines. These results suggest that ‘Ca. L. solanacearum' has a negative effect on population growth rate of its insect vector on tomato.