In recent years, psyllids (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha) have become of increasing interest due to their capability to vector damaging bacterial plant pathogens. The arrival of Bactericera cockerelli (Tomato Potato Psyllid, TPP) to New Zealand and the spread of Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (Lso) also raised the risk of a future arrival to Australia. To date, studies of the New Zealand psyllid fauna have primarily focused on insect morphologies, and there was scant knowledge of their phylogeny and evolution.
After a two-year field collection, the first multi marker phylogeny of the New Zealand Psylloidea is presented here for a total of 90 psyllid species distributed across 600 locations between New Zealand and Australia. Additionally, a 16S amplicon sequence data from 60 species has been developed to describe the psyllids symbiotic microbial diversity. Using the complete dataset comprising the host plant and insect distribution, and the bacterial flora, network analysis clarifies the relationships between psyllids, host plants and vectored bacteria. This first step will be of fundamental value for biosecurity to understand and possibly help predict the psyllid-vectoring of plant pathogens.