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Author Archives: Colin

• Article: Revision of the mealy plum aphids

The mealy plum aphid. Unaltered, ©2013 by Tom Murray, BugGuideCC BY-ND-NC 1.0.

The mealy plum aphid, Hyalopterus pruni, along with two other species of Hyalopterus, are important pests of peaches, apricots, plums, and almonds. Unfortunately, there were 13 separate species names for only three valid species. In order to associate the 13 names with the three species, we published a taxonomic revision of the aphid genus Hyalopterus. The project involved five authors from five different countries, and the results were published at the end of 2017. Establishing the correct names for the three valid species will help researchers on these pest aphids better communicate their work. The paper is available at the Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. Or just drop Colin an e-mail for a personal delivery!

Favret C, Meshram NM, Miller GL, Nieto Nafría JM, Stekolshchikov AV. 2017. The mealy plum aphid and its congeners: A synonymic revision of the Prunus-infesting aphid genus Hyalopterus (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 119(4): 565-574. DOI: 10.4289/0013-8797.119.4.565

• Article: Protecting the name Adelgidae

An adelgid spruce gall
An gall chamber full of adelgids
A winged adelgid
An alatoid adelgid nymph

Adelgids are sometime conifer insect pests; of particular note is the hemlock woolly adelgid. A large number of species alternate host, forming galls on a spruce one year and migrating to the bark or needles of another kind of conifer the next (fir, hemlock, larch, pine). While preparing a catalog of adelgid species, I discovered that there are actually three names referring to the same family. According to the rules of the zoological nomenclature, when two scientific names apply to the same animal (synonyms), it is the older that takes precedence. Unfortunately, the other two names, published in 1901 and early 1909, both have priority over Adelgidae, published in late 1909. Because Adelgidae is used much more often than the other names, to protect the stability of the nomenclature and the research on this important insect family, I prepared a petition, submitted to the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature, to protect the name Adelgidae by suppressing the other two. With the support of many of my fellow aphidologists, I am confident that my request will be granted, but in case it is not, we will have to start using the name Chermaphididae to refer to this family!

Favret C. 2017. Case 3714 – Adelgidae Schouteden, 1909 (Insecta, Hemiptera, Aphidomorpha): proposed conservation by reversal of precedence with Pineini Nüsslin, 1909 and Chermaphidinae Hunter, 1901. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature, 74(2): 55-59. DOI: 10.21805/bzn.v74.a019

• Article: Several introductions around the world of a Californian aphid

Essigella californica, tended by an ant, on a needle of a southern California Ponderosa pine. Photo taken June 2013 by C. Favret.

PhD student Thomas Théry recently published the first chapter of his thesis. Here’s a brief exposé of his work.

Aphids of the genus Essigella live in North America and feed on pine needles. One of these species, Essigella californica, has been introduced in Europe, North Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America. Essigella californica is a species that could cause great damage in pine culture where it has been introduced. Thus research on control methods are undergoing in order to restrain additionnal damage caused by the species. However, it is important to fully grasp the identity of the populations and the biology of the species so that suitable control methods could be brought. This species is morphologically close to many other species of Essigella and no genetic study has confirmed that the introduced populations belonged well to this species. The study of three genes (ATP6, COI, and GND) on twelve introduced populations of Essigella californica has confirmed that these ones belonged to this species. The study of a fourth gene (EF-1α) has revealed that these twelve populations could have been separated into four distinct groups showing that the introduced populations had at least four origins and that the introduction of this species outside North America took place at least four times.

Théry T, Brockerhoff EG, Carnegie AJ, Chen Rui, Elms SR, Hullé M, Glatz R, Ortego J, Qiao Gexia, Turpeau É, Favret C. 2017. EF-1α DNA sequences indicate multiple origins of introduced populations of Essigella californica (Hemiptera, Aphididae). Journal of Economic Entomology, 110(3): 1269-1274. DOI: 10.1093/jee/tox026

• Anaïs wins best presentation at the departmental symposium

Best presentation in ecology and evolution at the 17th annual symposium. Congratulations Anaïs!

• Entomological Society of Québec – 2016

Three undergraduate students presented excellent posters at the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of Quebec.

Mira Miron
Alexis Trépanier
Anaïs Boa

• International Congress of Entomology – 2016

Boasting the largest assembly of entomologists the world had ever seen, The International Congress of Entomology was held in Orlando, Florida, USA, during the last week in September 2017. During the symposium, Colin and hosted and he and Thomas Théry presented at the Synthesis in Sternorrhyncha Systematics symposium. Auxiliary meetings were held in conjunction with the ICE, and Colin presented at the meetings of the International Aphid Genomics Consortium and the Entomological Collections Network.

• Thomas Théry wins excellence in teaching award

Thomas won the University of Montreal’s President’s prize for excellence in teaching by a teaching assistant.

• Synthesis in Sternorrhyncha Systematics

The full program for the symposium, Synthesis in Sternorrhyncha Systematics, has now been approved! The symposium will take place at the International Congress of Entomology in Orlando, Florida, the afternoon of September 29. It will bring together systematists working at all different levels (fossils, morphology, phylogenetics, speciation, and more) on all four groups of Sternorrhyncha (aphids, psyllids, scale insects, whiteflies).

OBJECTIVES and DESCRIPTION Various Sternorrhyncha taxa are important research models for speciation and host-parasite-associated evolution (both plant-insect and insect-endosymbiont), display interesting biological phenomena such as host alternation and polyphenism, and are among the most important crop pests, especially as vectors of plant diseases. Many insect systematists associate at the ordinal or other higher taxonomic level, e.g., the International Society of Hymenopterists, the International Heteropterists’ Society, and the North American Dipterists’ Society. In contrast, systematists working on Sternorrhyncha have tended to aggregate at lower taxonomic levels: e.g., the International Symposium on Aphids and the International Symposium on Scale Insect Studies. The proposed symposium seeks to assemble systematists to share the latest scientific developments in the four major Sternorrhyncha taxa. We will cross the taxonomic borders of our respective groups, exchange ideas, and develop synergies for addressing evolutionary and systematic questions that encompass all the Sternorrhyncha. An explicit aim of the symposium will be to publish a review paper describing the past, present, and future of Sternorrhyncha systematics.

Keynote talks bracketing the symposium will present the systematics, evolution, and fossil history of the Sternorrhyncha. Other oral presentations will highlight the current systematic knowledge of the four major Sternorrhyncha taxa, aphids, psyllids, scale insects, and whiteflies, including their evolution, phylogeny, and classification. Posters will present more focused topics.

• Presentations at the Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of Canada and Quebec

The Joint Annual Meeting took place in Montreal the 8th to the 11th of November. Four lab members presented their work.

Pedro Paulo Castro-Grillo, an undergraduate student in his last year, presented a poster on his work on hickory Phylloxera. You can view his poster on line: Poster_Phylloxera_Jam_2015.

Thomas Théry presented the results of the first chapter of his PhD thesis: Multiple introductions of the Monterey pine aphid, Essigella california (Essig, 1909).

Étienne Normandin, Manager of the Ouellet-Robert Entomological Collection, presented recent work in the collection, especially regarding a specimen inventory and a quantitative conservation profile of the collection. He also took the opportunity to present other activities, including his work on a new guide to the insects of Quebec: Thinking differently for insect collections: Profiling data, inventory, and outreach projects.

Colin Favret helped with the organization of the meeting, participating on the scientific committee, and co-organizing a symposium, “Arthropodod biodiversity informatics in the Anthropocene”. During the symposium, he presented his work on machine vision insect identification:Increased taxon sample and dataset size in automated insect identification.

• The enigmatic organ that makes the springtail a collembolan

Entomology Today published a nice blog featuring our new paper on the function of the springtail’s collophore. It featured a collaboration with the USDA and an undergraduate student author.