Common name: Psyllids
Scientific name: Paratrioza cockerelli
Synonyms: Jumping plant lice, Potato/tomato psyllids
Potatoes, tomatoes, pepper, eggplant and other members of the nightshade family
Normally, psyllid's infestations occur in areas where potato and other members of the nightshade family are cultivated.
Nymphs and adults suck plant juices causing retarded growth of the internodes, upward cupping or rolling of leaves, and thickening of leaves. Leaf margins and other plant parts can become yellow, reddish or purplish. Older leaves and heavily injured plants may die. Psyllid-yellows and purple-top are the common symptoms as
results of toxic saliva injected by the insect.
Potato tubers and fruits are discolored, tiny, and malformed. Potato leaves become thickened and curled. Waxy crystals of waste or white powder from nymphs can be observed on the plants. Potato plants, attacked before tuber set, form numerous tubers on each stolon
. Tubers may sprout prematurely even before harvest.
Tomatoes attacked during the vegetative stage may bear no fruits. A late attack can cause the production of an abnormal number of fruits that will never attain the desired fruit sizes.
Eggs are very small, ovate-shaped, and yellow to orange in color. Egg is found singly on very fine stalks usually along leaf margins. Eggs are not visible to naked eyes.
Nymphs are flattened and somewhat scale-like with a fringe
of short spines around the edge. Newly hatched nymphs are yellowish and turn pale-brown to green as they mature. They undergo four nymphal stages and are usually found on lower leaves and on lower leaf surfaces.
Adults are striped with alternating dark and light bands. Their common names are derived from their ability to jump backwards when disturbed. A mature female can lay over 500 eggs. Their lifecycle is 15-30 days.