, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 149-161

The response of resistant kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis) to armoured scale insect (Diaspididae) feeding

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Abstract

The responses of five experimental genotypes and one commercial variety of kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis) to attack by two polyphagous, congeneric armoured scale insect pests (Hemiberlesia rapax and H. lataniae) are described. H. lataniae feeding elicits a response in the bark and fruit of all but one of the experimental genotypes, leading to the development of wound periderm over a 4–5 week period, and death of the insect. The response, which differs slightly between tissue types and genotypes, consists of wound periderm formation in a bowl shape beneath and around the insect, preventing its stylet from reaching normal unmodified parenchyma tissue. Wound periderm cell walls become suberised and cells beneath the insect become filled with phenolic compounds. In some cases, cells beneath the insect become hypertrophic or undergo lysis, exhibiting characteristics of a hypersensitive-like response. The remaining genotype showed no physical change in tissue structure in response to H. lataniae feeding, and the insects survived but were substantially reduced in size. These results suggest that both physical and chemical plant resistance responses are involved. In contrast, H. rapax elicited no observable histological response from any of the genotypes and the insects developed normally on bark and fruit. Both insect species developed normally on leaf petioles and these exhibit only slight cell wall thickening in response to their feeding. This unusual plant defensive response to a sucking insect has similarities to simple types of gall formation in response to insect and pathogen attack and has characteristics of resistance gene-mediated models of plant defence.

Handling Editor: Gimme Walter.