Mar. 11, 2019
In Sergipe, researchers have discovered a new species of planthopper capable of hosting the causative agent of Lethal Yellowing Disease of Coconut (LYD), a serious disease that may reach Brazil and which has been a cause for worry since 2013.
Named Oecleus sergipensis, it is the first planthopper of the genus Oecleus Stål, with its occurrence registered in Brazilian territory.
Their discovery is the result of an international research effort to identify potential LYD vectors in coconut producing regions. The studies involve Embrapa, universities and research institutions in Brazil and abroad, such as the Center for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD), France, and the Center for Scientific Research of Yucatan (CICY) in Mexico.
These and other research results are fruits of the project, "Enhancement of scientific knowledge on the deadly Lethal Yellowing of coconut and other diseases in palm trees", led by Embrapa, and the international scientific cooperation network maintained in the Marketplace platform, which brings together researchers from Embrapa and institutions.
The specimens were collected between 2015 and 2016 in the coconut genetic banks that Embrapa maintains in the municipality of Neópolis, in Lower São Francisco Sergipano, and in Itaporanga d'Ajuda, on the southern coast of the state, besides the Augusto Franco park, located next to the Embrapa Unit, in the Sergipe capital.
In Brazil, the molecular identification of the new species was carried out through genetic characterization. The confirmation of morphological identification of the new species was done by a researcher of the Department of Entomology of the University of Delaware (Udel), United States, Charles Bartlett, considered the greatest specialist in the genus Oecleus Stål in the world.
The research article
was published in the international magazine Zootaxa
, specialized in the identification of animal species, in which the new planthopper is described.