Abstract Detail

Development and Structure

Carlile, Brittnay [1], Krosnick, Shawn [2].

Optimized methods for preserving hemipteran stylet bundle connections for anatomical studies looking at plant herbivory.

Insects belonging to the order Hemiptera have specialized feeding stylets that allow for tapping into the vascular tissues of a host plant. Two common insects that feed on fluids available in plant vascular tissues are spittlebug nymphs (Clastoptera spp.), who feed via connecting to xylem tissue, and aphids (Aphis spp.), who feed via phloem. Feeding insects secrete saliva that hardens to form an impervious and air-tight sheath for feeding. If disturbed, these insects often remove their stylet bundle immediately and relocate, making it difficult to study their feeding behavior. In fall 2020, collection methods were optimized to maintain stylet connections when collecting insects while actively feeding. Using the Native Plant Garden at Tennessee Tech University, the sunflower spittlebug, Clastoptera xanthocephala, was collected on Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) and the milkweed aphid, Aphis nerii, was collected on common milkweed (Asclepias syriacus). Liquid nitrogen was poured on the plant/insect to help maintain the stylet/sheath connection. The frozen material was immediately plunged into liquid nitrogen, and then transitioned into FAA. Samples were then paraffin embedded and sectioned using standard techniques. Slides were stained using the Sharman staining series and mounted onto slides. This method provided good quality preservation of the sheath and insect/stylet connections for both spittlebug and aphid samples. Stylet sheaths were identifiable within stem and leaf tissue, making it possible to assess whether or not xylem or phloem was being targeted by the insect. Results confirmed that the flash freezing technique was successful as a means to assess feeding patterns in hemipteran insects. Additional hemipteran species will be examined to further test this approach.

1 - Tennessee Tech University, Biology, 1 William L Jones Dr. , Cookeville, TN, 38505, USA
2 - Tennessee Technological University, Department of Biology, Department of Biology, Tennessee Technological University, 1100 N Dixie Ave, Cookeville, TN, 38505, USA

none specified

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PDS016
Abstract ID:686
Candidate for Awards:None

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