Identification of planthoppers (Hemiptera: Delphacidae) intercepted on aquarium plants in Florida and elucidation of a potential pathway for exotic aquatic and semiaquatic pests
Recent shipments of aquarium plants to pet stores in five Florida counties were found to be infested with an exotic delphacid planthopper. Rearing adult males allowed identification by morphological analysis. Molecular analysis confirmed that it was the same as authoritatively identified reference specimens of the planthopper, Opiconsiva anacharsis (Fennah) (new combination) (Hemiptera: Delphacidae), first reported from Florida in 1989 and known to be established only in Broward County. The host plants, Echinodorus spp. Rich. ex Engelm.(Alismatales: Alismataceae), originally from Thailand, were sold in enclosed plastic cylinders that provided a suitable environment for maintaining the planthoppers. Attempts to trace the shipment histories to these stores suggested a circuitous multi-state pathway leading to a Broward County, Florida, business that receives aquatic plants from Southeast Asia. While the infestation of these plants may have occurred in Florida, trade in semi-emergent aquatic plants is shown to be a potential pathway for introduction for insect pests.