Insect Vectors of Plant Pathogens Group

Insect Vectors of Plant Pathogens Group

Our main goal is to provide new fundamental knowledge on the transmission mechanisms of plant pathogens by their insect vectors and to develop sustainable management practices to optimise vector control and to interfere with the plant pathogens they transmit.

Objectives covered by the group include:
  1. Pathogen-vector-plant interactions: characterization of the transmission mechanisms of plant pathogens by their insect vectors and development of new control strategies to interfere with the transmission process.
  2. Preference, prevalence and population increase of insect vectors and their natural enemies on pathogen-infected plants and its epidemiological implications.
  3. Plant pathogen and vector control in integrated production systems: new strategies to control the spread of plant pathogens based on the interference with vector population growth, landing, movement and transmission.
  4. Provision of ecological infrastructures to enhance biological control and pollination to increase food security.
  5. Response of insect vectors and plant pathogens to variable abiotic stresses under a climate change scenario.

Group Leader

Research Professor





Post-doctoral Researcher

Pre-doctoral Researcher



Research Assistant

  •     Pathogen-vector-plant interactions

    Jiménez, J., Tjallingii, W.F., Moreno, A. and Fereres, A. 2018. Newly distinguished cell punctures associated with transmission of the semipersistent phloem-limited Beet yellows virus. Journal of Virology 92:e01076-18.

    Domingo-Calap, M. L., Moreno Gonçalves, A. B., Díaz-Pendón, J. A., Moreno, A., Fereres, A. and Lopez-Moya, J. J. 2019. Assessing the impact on virus transmission and insect vector behavior of a viral mixed infection in melon. Phytopathology 110(1), 174-186., 

    Jiménez, J., Garzo, E., Alba-Tercedor, J., Moreno, A., Fereres, A., & Walker, G. P. 2020. The phloem-pd: a distinctive brief sieve element stylet puncture prior to sieve element phase of aphid feeding behavior. Arthropod-Plant Interactions, 14(1): 67-78.

    Jiménez, J., Arias-Martín, M., Moreno, A., Garzo, E., & Fereres, A. 2020. Barley yellow dwarf virus can be inoculated during brief intracellular punctures in phloem cells before the sieve element continuous salivation phase. Phytopathology 110(1): 85-93.

    Cornara, D., Marra, M, Morente, M., Garzo,  E., Moreno, A., Saponari, M., Fereres A. 2020. Feeding behavior in relation to spittlebug transmission of Xylella fastidiosa. Journal of Pest Science 93: 1197–1213.

    Vázquez, C, Carmo-Sousa, M., Lopes, J.R.S., Fereres, A. and Moreno, A. 2020. Aphids are unable to ingest phloem sap from the peduncles of lime fruits. Plants 9(11):1-12.

  •     Epidemiology and control of vector insects and the pathogens they transmit

    Chen, X., Meyer-Rochow, V. B., Fereres, A., Morente, M. and Liang, A. 2018. The role of biofoam in shielding spittlebug nymphs (Insecta, Hemiptera, Cercopidae) against bright light. Ecological Entomology 43: 273-281. doi:10.1111/een.12496

    Tomaseto, A.F., Marques, R.N., Fereres, A., Zanardi, O.Z., Volpe, H.X.L., Alquézar, B., Peña, L  and Miranda, M.P. 2019. Orange jasmine as a trap crop to control Diaphorina citri. Scientific Reports 9: 2070. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-38597-5

    González-Mas, N., Quesada-Moraga, E., Plaza, M., Fereres, A. and Moreno, A. 2019. Changes in feeding behaviour are not related to the reduction in the transmission rate of plant viruses by Aphis gossypii (Homoptera: Aphididae) to melon plants colonized by Beauveria bassiana (Ascomycota: Hypocreales). Biological Control 130: 95-103

    Prieto-Ruiz, I., Garzo, E., Moreno, A., Dáder, B., Medina, P., Viñuela, E., and Fereres, A. 2019. Supplementary UV radiation on eggplants indirectly deters Bemisia tabaci settlement without altering the predatory orientation of their biological control agents Nesidiocoris tenuis and Sphaerophoria rueppellii. Journal of Pest Science, 92(3): 1057-1070.

    Silva-Sanzana, C., Celiz-Balboa, J., Garzo, E., Marcus,S. E., Parra-Rojas, J.P., Rojas, B., Olmedo, P., Rubilar, M. A., Riosa, I., Chorbadjiane, R. A., Fereres, A., Knox, P., Saez-Aguayo, S. and Blanco-Herrera, F. 2019. Pectin methylesterases modulate plant homogalacturonan status in defenses against the aphid Myzus persicae. The Plant Cell 31: 1-17

    Sadras, V. O., Fereres, E., Borrás, L., Garzo, E., Moreno, A., Araus, J.L. and Fereres, A. 2020. Aphid Resistance: An Overlooked Ecological Dimension of Nonstructural Carbohydrates in Cereals. Frontiers in Plant Science 11. doi:10.3389/fpls.2020.00937.

    Selma,M., Cavallo,G., Tortorici, F., Romero, E., Fereres, A., Djelouah, K., Verrastro, V. and Cornara, D. Behavioral effects induced by organic insecticides can be exploited for a sustainable control of the Orange Spiny Whitefly Aleurocanthus spiniferus. Scientific Reports 10, n.o 1: 15746.

    Garzo, E., Moreno, A., Plaza, M. and Fereres, A. 2020. Feeding behavior and virus-transmission ability of insect vectors exposed to systemic insecticides. Plants , 9, 895.

    Chinchilla-Ramírez, M., Garzo, E., Fereres, A., Gavara-Vidal, J., ten Broeke, C.J.M, van Loon, J. J.A., Urbaneja, A. and Pérez-Hedo, M. 2021. Plant feeding by Nesidiocoris tenuis: Quantifying its behavioral and mechanical components, Biological Control, Volume 152, 104402.

    Moreno-Delafuente, A., Morales, I., Garzo, E, Fereres, A., Viñuela, E., Medina, P. 2021. Changes in melon plant phytochemistry impair Aphis gossypii growth and weight under elevated CO2. Scientific Reports 11, 2186 (2021).

    Lago, C., Morente, M., De las Heras, D., Marti-Campoy, A., Rodriguez-Ballester, F., Plaza, M., Moreno, A., Fereres, A. 2021. Dispersal of Neophilaenus campestris, a vector of Xylella fastidiosa, from olive groves to over‐summering hosts. Journal of Applied Entomology 2021; 00: 1– 12.

  •     Awards and honours

    Alberto Fereres received the 2017 John V. Osmun Alumni Professional Achievement Award in Entomology Award in 2017, being the only foreigner to have received this award since its creation in 1988. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA.

    Alberto Fereres is part of the 2% of the most influential scientists worldwide according to a bibliometric study carried out by Stanford University, California (USA) in 2020 based on the number of citations according to Scopus and other indicators of scientific production (Ioannidis JPA, Boyack KW, Baas J (2020) Updated science-wide author databases of standardized citation indicators. PLoS Biol 18(10): e3000918.

    Clara Lago has received the EFSA award for the best Poster presented at the: 3rd European Conference on Xylella fastidiosa and XF-ACTORS final meeting for the work: "Impact of insecticides in the feeding behaviour of Philaenus spumarius associated to the transmission of Xylella fastidiosa". 26-30 abril, 2021.