Influence of plot characteristics and surrounding vegetation on the intra-plot spatial distribution of Empoasca vitis
• Spatial distributions of adults and nymphs of Empoasca vitis were assessed during 3 years inside two adjacent vine plots having considerable intra-plot variability, diversified natural ground cover and surrounding vegetation, and no insecticide application.
• Geostatistical analysis confirmed that, in spite of repeated adult migrations, spatial distributions of summer populations were highly aggregated, similar every year and similar between adults and nymphs. Comparison of insect distribution with intra-plot characteristics, such as vine plant vigour (leaf density and leaf chlorophyll concentration) and phenology, plot topography and surrounding vegetation, revealed that E. vitis clearly aggregates in areas with the most vigorous vine plants.
• Even though the presence of natural enemies in the surrounding vegetation was confirmed by specific observations, we did not observe significant population decrease at the contiguous plot edges. Natural ground cover, together with the absence of insecticide, might allow the spreading and perennial conservation of E. vitis natural enemies inside the plots.
• Clear adult aggregations observed along downwind woodlands suggest that this vegetation acts as a barrier and intercepts the adults flying passively across the plot. However, this surrounding vegetation could also serve as an alternative refuge when vine water deficit and vine foliage temperature increase.