Tarnished plant bugs, Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois), overwinter as diapausing adults in North America. Overwintering adults were collected near Stoneville, MS from blooming henbit, Lamium amplexicaule L., and from plant debris during December and January and dissected to determine their reproductive status. Averaged over four winters, male and female tarnished plant bugs collected from henbit terminated diapause at a significantly higher rate than males and females from plant debris during each week of December and the first week of January. Both sexes in each habitat were nearly all reproductive by the end of January. Adults overwintering in plant debris terminated diapause during January in the absence of a food stimulus in all 5 yr studied. This emergence was thought to be controlled by an internal clock. Laboratory and field studies showed that emergence from diapause could be influenced by food, sex, and temperature. Adults overwintering on a suitable food source, blooming henbit, terminated diapause during December in the 4 yr studied, and males terminated diapause more rapidly than females. Food quality was important in emergence from diapause, and females on blooming henbit terminated diapause at a significantly higher rate than females on nonblooming mustard, Brassica juncea (L.) Cosson. Laboratory tests showed that diapausing adults reared in the laboratory and held at a diapause-maintaining photoperiod of 10:14 (L:D) h could be terminated from diapause by using food and temperature stimuli. The lower thermal threshold for development to reproductive adults was found to be near 10°C. The ability of diapausing adults to respond to food and temperature stimuli in December can enable tarnished plant bugs to take advantage of warm winters and winter hosts to produce a new generation earlier.
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Vol. 41 • No. 6