Preliminary observations of some Sonoran Desert psyllids, Jan-Feb 2018

It's not quite psyllid season yet, but I've been looking anyway. Here are my notes regarding the eight species I've observed in the past month, as well as notes on eight more species that have eluded me, from around the Tucson area.

1. Bactericera cockerelli (Potato Psyllid)
This is probably the most commonly collected and well known species in the western USA, and it's the most common species I've observed over the past month. In multiple localities in the Tucson area and in Saguaro National Park, I've found adults of this species to be common on various native Lycium spp., as well as planted Capsicum. I've also encountered many Bactericera eggs on the new growth of some Lycium plants, though these eggs could also belong to Bactericera lobata, a Lycium specialist.

2. Bactericera minuta (Goodding's Willow Psyllid)
A species I'm very familiar with from California, wherever there grows Goodding's Willow I can usually find this species. While I haven't explored too many local riparian habitats where Salix gooddingii might grow, the tree was common at Sweetwater Wetlands and I was able to find this psyllid there.

3. Pachypsylla venusta (Hackberry Petiole Gall Psyllid)
Celtis reticulata drops its leaves in the winter, but leaves with galls induced by this psyllid stay attached to the tree even after they die. Because of this it's very easy to find the galls (which are very common on this host anyway), and I've encountered them almost anywhere I've found this tree in Tucson. I've yet to see an adult yet, but they should be emerging soon.

4. Pachypsylla celtidisvesicula (Hackberry Blister Gall Psyllid)
Unlike with P. venusta, Celtis reticulata leaves infected with blister galls will drop in the winter, and as such it is impossible to accurately assess the prevalence of this species in the region quite yet. However, the species overwinters as adults, and as such I have observed one adult of this species, at the Tucson Botanical Garden underneath a large hackberry tree. It's likely that this species is very common here.

5. Pachypsylla pallida (Hairy Bud Gall Psyllid)
Arguably the most interesting of the net-leaf hackberry psyllids due to its apparent rarity and restricted range, I've observed galls of this species on trees at the Sonoran Desert Museum in Saguaro National Park. Adults have rarely been photographed, but I hope to change that in the months to come.

6. Leuronota maculata (Desert Hackberry Psyllid)
Celtis pallida isn't effected by the leaf-galling psyllids that are common on Celtis reticulata, but it does have one psyllid of its own. But while Desert Hackberry is very common around Tucson, this psyllid has only revealed itself to me at Saguaro National Park (east) where I found several nymphs and a single adult, after much looking.

7. Aphalaroida pithecolobia (Catclaw Acacia Psyllid)
I'm still learning the local Fabaceae, but the one place where I've unmistakably observed Senegalia greggii - at the Tucson Botanical Garden, where the plant was labeled - I was able to find this psyllid, with both adults and nymphs present. Interestingly, I also found this species on another "Acacia" 20 miles west in Picture Rocks.

8. Calophya californica (Lemonadeberry Psyllid)
This is not a typical Sonoran Desert species and the host, Rhus ovata, is not a typical Sonoran Desert plant. But several species of Rhus, including ovata, have been planted at the Sonoran Desert Museum, and after briefly investigating that plant I was able to find a population of these there.

Top row: 1. Bactericera cockerelli on Lycium; 2. Bactericera minuta; 3. Pachypsylla venusta gall
Middle row: 1. Pachypsylla celtidisvesicula; 2. Pachypsylla pallida gall; 3. Leuronota maculata
Bottom row: 1. Aphalaroida pithecolobia adult; 2. A. pithecolobia nymph; 3. Calophya californica

Species I'm still looking for

1. Heteropsylla texana (a Mesquite Psyllid)
Mesquite is everywhere around here, and so too should be this psyllid, but surprisingly I've not encountered it yet.

2. Aphalaroida spinifera (a Mesquite Psyllid)
Another mesquite psyllid that I woud expect to be quite common on Prosopis velutina, but despite finding another Aphalaroida sp. active on other hosts, I haven't observed any major activity on mesquite yet.

3. Tetragonocephala flava (Hackberry Lerp Psyllid)
This species may be present on the Celtis reticulata around here, but in the winter it's impossible to detect the obvious lerps that the nymphs create on the leaves.

4. Calophya triozomima (Sumac Psyllid)
With many different Rhus species planted at the Sonoran Desert Museum, including R. aromatica, I would expect several species of Calophya to be present. But if they are, it may be too early to find them.

5. Freysuila phorodendri (Mistletoe Psyllid)
Does this species only occur on oak mistletoe in montane regions? Maybe, but that won't stop me from continuing to check Desert Mistletoe, which is very common here.

6. Bactericera lobata (Lycium Psyllid)
Lycium can be found in quite a few local spots, and more often than not it has psyllids - just not this psyllid, which is arguably one of the prettiest members of its genus. Hopefully my searches will eventually pay off and it is just too early in the season for this species right now.

7. Calinda spp. (Baccharis psyllids)
Three main Calinda spp. should occur in this region, and Desert Broom Baccharis sarothroides could theoretically host one or two of them, and the plant is very common here. But while Salvador Vitanza was able to easily get all three species in the span of a week last year, I'm still looking for my first one.

8. Levidea lineata
This species is significant in that it belongs to a genus that has yet to be photographed. Tuthill, who described the species, stated that the host is "probably" Parthenium incanum. That "probably" is concerning, as it means that my searches on this plant may be in vain. I am still learning to recognize this plant and I haven't yet encountered it in the wild, though there is one planted at the Botanical Garden. I have not seen any evidence of psyllids there, though.

Posted by psyllidhipster psyllidhipster, February 13, 2018 04:04



Didn’t you leave a ID on my page of one of these that was growing on a velvet mesquite limb

Posted by ck2az almost 2 years ago (Flag)

I remember you posting some kind of gall the other day, but I dont remember which kind

Posted by psyllidhipster almost 2 years ago (Flag)

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