Arch Virol (2008) 153: 61–67
Printed in The Netherlands
Prevalence and natural host range of Homalodisca
coagulata virus-1 (HoCV-1)
L. E. Hunnicutt
, J. Mozoruk
, W. B. Hunter
, J. M. Crosslin
, C. A. Powell
USDA ARS U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, Ft. Pierce, FL, U.S.A.
USDA ARS Vegetable and Forage Crops Research Unit, Prosser, WA, U.S.A.
Indian River Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Ft. Pierce, FL, U.S.A.
Received 11 June 2007; Accepted 27 August 2007; Published online 28 September 2007
# Springer-Verlag 2007
Transmission electron microscopy was used to
conﬁrm the presence of picorna-like virus particles
presumed to be Homalodisca coagulata virus-1
(HoCV-1) in the midgut region of adult glassy-
winged sharpshooters (GWSS). In addition, we
offer a reverse transcription polymerase chain re-
action (RT-PCR) assay for the detection of this
virus with a sensitivity of $95 genome equivalents.
A survey employing this assay in conjunction with
GWSS samples collected throughout the United
States including California, Hawaii, Florida Georgia,
and the Carolinas revealed a fairly widespread
pattern of distribution, although potentially restrict-
ed to temperate regions, areas with elevated host
densities, or to populations of a common origin.
The virus was found to naturally infect adults re-
gardless of host plant and was not speciﬁc to a
particular lifestage or sex. Examination of alternate
leafhopper species further demonstrated that, al-
though infection is not ubiquitous to all sharpshoot-
er genera, HoCV-1 is not limited to Homalodisca
vitripennis (¼H. coagulata).
The glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS), Homa-
lodisca vitripennis (Germar) (¼H. coagulata (Say)
(Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) ), is a highly mobile,
polyphagous pest which feeds on over 100 plant
species in 31 families [2, 6]. Indigenous to the
southern United States and northeastern Mexico,
GWSS have recently invaded and successfully oc-
cupied the French Polynesian island of Moorea,
Easter Island , and coastal areas of Tahiti 
as well as the Hawaiian island Oahu . Through-
out these regions, this insect has emerged as a
signiﬁcant threat to both ornamental and agricul-
tural operations due to its ability to vector Xylella
fastidiosa Wells. Upon infection, the bacterium
obstructs xylem ﬂow, manifesting infection through
scorch-like symptoms and ultimately plant death
. Strains of this phytopathogenic microbe have
been associated with a number of diseases includ-
ing leaf scorches of almond, coffee, elm, maple,
oak, oleander, and pear as well as citrus variegated
chlorosis, phony peach disease, and Pierce’s dis-
ease of grapes [10, 14, 20].
Correspondence: Wayne B. Hunter, USDA ARS U.S.
Horticultural Research Laboratory, 2001 S. Rock Rd., Ft.
Pierce, FL 34945, U.S.A.