Incidence of weed reservoirs and vectors of tomato spotted wilt tospovirus on southern Tasmanian lettuce farms

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Thrips species and tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) alternate weed hosts were surveyed on two lettuce farms in southern Tasmania during 1994 and 1995. Only one known vector species, Thrips tabaci, was found at either site, comprising on average 36·8% of the total monthly catch. A major peak of thrips activity in the summer corresponded with an increase of disease in autumn harvested lettuce. Two thrips species new for Tasmania were recorded, Pseudanaphothrips achaetus and Tenothrips frici. Infection patterns within the crop indicated that localized weed infestations were the most likely reservoir of virus. ELISA testing showed that TSWV was present in a range of dicotyledonous weed species, although usually infecting only a low percentage of the plants. Arctotheca calendula appeared to be the single most important reservoir host species at one property, whilst this species and Sonchus oleraceus, Malva sylvestris, Brassica rapa ssp. silvestris, Erodium moschatum and Trifolium sp. were probably the most important reservoirs at the other property. Two new natural TSWV host species were recorded,Erodium moschatum and Brassica rapa ssp.silvestris. The property with the highest incidence of TSWV-infected lettuce had a relatively higher proportion of virus-infected weeds but less thrips activity during the infection period.

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