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The Relationship Between Feeding and Virus Retention Time in Beetle Transmission of Plant Viruses. R. Y. Wang, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 72701; R. C. Gergerich, and K. S. Kim. Department of Plant Pathology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 72701. Phytopathology 84:995-998. Accepted for publication 25 May 1994. Copyright 1994 The American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/Phyto-84-995.

Three beetle vectors of plant viruses, the Mexican bean beetle (Epilachna varivestis), the bean leaf beetle (Cerotoma trifurcata), and the spotted cucumber beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi), were used to study retention of southern bean mosaic virus (SBMV). After bean leaf beetles acquired SBMV from virus-infected bean leaves, they were viruliferous for less than 5 days unless they did not feed, in which case they were viruliferous for longer periods. To test the hypothesis that virus retention time is determined mainly by feeding activity that depletes the amount of ingested virus, Mexican bean beetles, bean leaf beetles, and spotted cucumber beetles were held at 57 C for 1, 2, 3, or 4 wk without feeding after virus acquisition from SBMV-infected leaves. The virus transmission rate and pattern after removal of beetles from storage after starvation were similar to the control beetles that were not subjected to starvation, suggesting that postacquisition feeding influences plant virus retention by leaf-feeding beetles. Beetles lost viruliferousness over a 4-wk period if they fed on healthy plants during that period.

Additional keywords: Chrysomelidae, Coccinellidae, Coleoptera, hemolymph.