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Hungry insects are the big yellow taxi for many plant viruses

CONNECTED members can now watch this online talk by Prof. Richard Hopkins on the CONNECTED Vimeo channel – click here.

In the presentation, which formed part of the October 2021 CONNECTED Online seminar, Prof. Hopkins  described resource-directed behaviours of 2 insect species, Delia radicum and Delia floralis (cabbage root fly and turnip root fly) on brassicas. Whilst these are not vectors of plant viruses, they are well studied insect systems that can impart useful insight into insect behaviour.

As Prof. Hopkins put it:

“Hungry insects are the big yellow taxi for many plant viruses.”

Insect movement patterns and how insects select their host plants is central to the spread of many important diseases. Prof. Hopkins described the range of sensory modalities which are used at different scales (hundreds of metres to millimetres), by insects to find host plants and stressed the importance of setting up a good bioassay, to test a scientific hypothesis.

Following the presentation there was a Q&A session facilitated by Dr Sylvester Dickson Baguma which included much discussion on the role of plant glucosinolates in influencing insect behaviour.

Prof. Hopkins is based at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, UK. He has a broad interest in insect behaviour and the movement patterns of insect vectors.

CONNECTED network members can watch Prof. Hopkin’s presentation using this link. You will need to be logged in as a CONNECTED member on the device you are using.