Abstract

Wild host plants are important for tarnished plant bug (TPB – Lygus lineolaris) populations, especially when cultivated crops are not flowering. Knowledge of native habitats is important for managing this insect pest. Although pollen has been used to characterize dispersal and food sources of many insects, it has not been used for TPB. The purpose of this study was to determine if pollen analyses could be used as a tool to determine the non-crop plants associated with TPB. Thirty-eight TPB were collected from light traps set up at two sites near the USDA-ARS research farm at Stoneville, Mississippi on 27 June 2011. Overall, 1183 pollen grains from 79 plant taxa were found in the samples. The pollen recovered was identified to 29 families, 33 genera, and 24 species. Many of the taxa of pollen found, such as Saururus cernuus C. Linnaeus (lizard’s tail), Sagittaria, Echinodorus and Carya aquatic (water hickory), occur in wet habitats. From the assemblage of identified pollen grains, TBP from both sites utilized plants from disturbed and/or wet habitats.

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