Oranges bug 'hacks insect behaviour'

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Jan 27, 2013
Oranges bug 'hacks insect behaviour' - BBC News

New research suggests that a bacterium, thought to be the cause of a deadly disease of citrus plants, aids its own spread by altering insect behaviour.

The University of Florida's Dr Kirsten Pelz Stelinski, who has been studying the disease, highlighted some of the consequences of the infection during a recent interview with the BBC's Science in Action.
"The leaves start to yellow and [grow] mottled in appearance, the branches begin to die back, the root system dies back and ultimately the tree declines and dies," she said.

To get from plant to plant the bacterium has to rely on an insect carrier called the Asian psyllid.

As the name suggests, the psyllid is native to Asia but is thought to have been spread to other parts of the world on shipments of citrus plants - an unforeseen consequence of global trade.

Dr Pelz-Stelinski also said that their findings suggest that the bacterium affects other aspects of the insect's behaviour to increase its chances of transmission.
"The bacteria can impact psyllid behaviour by causing psyllids to move more frequently and to move, or fly for a longer duration.
"So it actually increases the propensity for movement… so in that sense it is also driving itself out into the environment more, by manipulating its vehicle."
The researchers hope that these insights will provide new possibilities for controlling citrus greening disease.

side note

that all we need an other hacking forum lol


Senior Member
Nov 24, 2012
Just great, the Asian Psyllid. I have an orange tree and it looks like I live in the epicenter



Judging by that map, it is an illogical leap to a false conclusion that the bacterium is "altering insect behavior." Now, if there was a red dot over by Needles, I'd think "maybe." But those red dots are just filling in holes in the yellow ones.


Along with the loin fish take over huh


Senior Member
Nov 24, 2012


" unforeseen consequence of global trade."

HA! Whatever. People have known the danger of global trade on the American ecosystem for over a century! We have absolutely no excuse for new introductions, other than a messed-up global trade system and incompetent customs.

Tree of Heaven was brought to the US in 1784 as a garden tree. However, it was soon discovered how easily it spread and how bad the wood smelled when broken. Now, it is the main host of yet another invasive species, the Spotted Lanternfly, introduced in 2014.

Gipsy Moths were introduced in 1869 and completely defoliated trees and covered homes.

Kudzu was introduced from Japan in 1876 as an erosion control plant, and has now completely swamped millions of acres of land in the South killing many trees and plants underneath it. (It also threatens to take over some tropical islands).

The American Chestnuts, considered the best chestnuts in the world, are now almost extinct because of the Asian bark fungus which was introduced by imported Asiatic Chestnut trees in 1904.

Japanese Stiltgrass was introduced into Tennessee from China in 1919 from crates used to ship porcelain. It now threatens Eastern forests by raising the nitrogen levels of the soil too high for native trees seeds to germinate, thus threatening virtually every native tree and most plants. It is almost impossible to stop as each plant has thousands of seeds and it can grow in shade or sunlight.

The Dutch Elm disease killed off most of the American Elm trees after some European Elm trees were imported in 1928.

Mile-A-Minute vines or "Kudzu of the North" was first found in a greenhouse in Pennsylvania where it had come with some rhododendron rootstock from Asia. It has spread 300 miles in every direction since, and has the ability to pull down and grow over adult trees. The vines have thorns, and hundreds of new seedlings can grown from a single plant. (I've seen it firsthand in a forest, and in the early spring there is a literal carpet of seedlings growing everywhere. Even chemical control would take a ridiculous amount of time...)

The Hemlock woolly adelgid was introduced to Virginia from Japan in 1951 and has since spread to 90% of the range of Hemlock trees, killing and weakening them.

Killer Bees arrived in Texas in 1985 via Brazil and are known to chase a person for up to a mile and have killed around 1,000 people and animals as large as horses.

Brown Marmorated Stink bugs were first found in the US in 1998 and feeds on orchard fruits as well as native berries, not to mention swarming homes in the fall and having a maddening behavior of flying around lights and diving at unsuspecting people. (I personally have woken up with them in my hair and clothes...) Oh, and they smell bad, obviously!

The Emerald Ash Borer was accidentally brought to the US from east Asia in the 1990's and to Michigan in 2002. The second introduction resulted in millions of Ash trees being killed all across the country within the span of a decade, and it's still to be seen if the entire tree species will even survive... The effect of their absence on the rest of the forest is unknown, but could endanger even more species of bugs, fungi, and birds.

The Spotted Lanternfly was accidentally brought to Pennsylvania from South Korea around 2014, and despite immediate efforts to eradicate it, is still spreading into new regions. They swarm trees to lay their eggs and particularly live off of Tree of Heaven trees which were introduced in 1784. They threaten grape vines, fruit trees, and various native shrubs, but their real impact is still to be seen.

This is just scratching the surface, obviously, I mostly listed the ones that I'm familiar with or have seen the devastation in person.

It's worth mentioning that when I returned to the US from an overseas trip, I made it through customs despite having a piece of wood from a foreign tree in my luggage that I had forgotten about... Plus, a girl brought some local ground coffee with her and decided not to declare it at customs and got through with no problem. Neither of us introduced a new fungus or bug that we were aware of, but the ease with which we got into the country with foreign organic substances in our luggage was disturbingly easy...



Sorry, I didn't realize this is an old thread. But regardless, my point still stands.