In North Carolina, Tomato spotted wilt tospovirus (family Bunyaviridae, genus Tospovirus, TSWV) is vectored primarily by the tobacco thrips, Frankliniella fusca (Hinds), and the western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). TSWV overwinters in winter annual weeds from which it is spread to susceptible crops in spring. Because most susceptible crops are destroyed after harvest before winter weeds emerge in the fall, infected summer weeds are thought to be the principal source for spread of TSWV to winter annual weeds in fall. A survey of summer weeds associated with TSWV-susceptible crops in the coastal plain of North Carolina conducted between May and October revealed that relatively few species were commonly infected with TSWV and supported populations of F. fusca or F. occidentalis. F. occidentalis made up >75% of vector species collected from 15 summer weed species during 2002. The number of F. occidentalis and F. fusca immatures collected from plant samples varied significantly among plant species. Ipomoea purpurea (L.) Roth, Mollugo verticillata L., Cassia obtusifolia L., and Amaranthus palmeri S. Wats supported the largest numbers of immature F. occidentalis. Richardia scabra L., M. verticillata, and Ipomoea hederacea (L.) supported the largest numbers of F. fusca immatures. TSWV was present at 16 of 17 locations, and naturally occurring infections were found in 14 of 29 weed species tested. Five of the TSWV-infected species have not previously been reported as hosts of TSWV (A. palmeri, Solidago altissima L., Ipomoea lacunosa L., I. purpurea, and Phytolacca americana L.). Estimated rates of infection were highest in I. purpurea (6.8%), M. verticillata (5.3%), and I. hederacea (1.9%). When both the incidence of infection by TSWV and the populations of F. occidentalis and F. fusca associated with each weed species are considered, the following summer weed species have the potential to act as significant sources for spread of TSWV to winter annual weeds in fall: I. purpurea, I. hederacea, M. verticillata, A. palmeri, C. obtusifolia, R. scabra, Ambrosia artemisiifolia L., Polygonum pensylvanicum L., and Chenopodium album L.
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