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Landscape Diversity and Crop Vigor Influence Biological Control of the Western Grape Leafhopper (E. elegantula Osborn) in Vineyards


This study evaluated how the proportional area of natural habitat surrounding a vineyard (i.e. landscape diversity) worked in conjunction with crop vigor, cultivar and rootstock selection to influence biological control of the western grape leafhopper (Erythroneura elegantula Osborn). The key natural enemies of E. elegantula are Anagrus erythroneurae S. Trjapitzin & Chiappini and A. daanei Triapitsyn, both of which are likely impacted by changes in landscape diversity due to their reliance on non-crop habitat to successfully overwinter. Additionally, E. elegantula is sensitive to changes in host plant quality which may influence densities on specific cultivars, rootstocks and/or vines with increased vigor. From 2010-2013, data were collected on natural enemy and leafhopper densities, pest parasitism rates and vine vigor from multiple vineyards that represented a continuum of landscape diversity. Early in the season, vineyards in more diverse landscapes had higher Anagrus spp. densities and lower E. elegantula densities, which led to increased parasitism of E. elegantula. Although late season densities of E. elegantula tended to be lower in vineyards with higher early season parasitism rates and lower total petiole nitrogen content, they were also affected by rootstock and cultivar. While diverse landscapes can support higher natural enemy populations, which can lead to increased biological control, leafhopper densities also appear to be mediated by cultivar, rootstock and vine vigor.

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