The glassy-winged sharpshooter Homalodisca coagulata Say (Homoptera: Cicadellidae) is a new pest to California agriculture. It is the principal vector of several plant pathogenic diseases, particularly Pierce’s Disease in grapevines, and oleander leaf scorch. A microplate-based assay is described that measures the sensitivity of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity to inhibition by organophosphorus (OP) insecticides in this important pest. The technique provides users with an accurate measure of the efficacy of OP binding to this target site, and is a valuable tool for monitoring field populations of the insect to determine whether the use of OP insecticides has selected for resistant individuals. The technique will also measure AChE sensitivity in the smoke-tree sharpshooter, H. lacerta Fowler. This species is native to California and is regarded only as a minor pest. Both inhibition and kinetic measurements for the AChE enzymes in these sharpshooters demonstrate the close phylogenetic relationships between the two species.
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Vol. 96 • No. 6