contact information:

Ana I. Legrand , Ph.D.
Assistant Extension Professor, Entomology

University of Connecticut
Department of Plant Science
1376 Storrs Road, U-4067
Storrs, CT 06269

Telephone: (860) 486-0869
Fax: (860) 486-0682
e-mail: ana.legrand@uconn.edu


Ph.D. in Entomology: University of Maryland, 1999
M.S. in Biology: Cornell University, 1991

Courses Taught

PLSC 288, Insect Pest Management

SAPL 041, Plant Pest Control

Introduction to Entomology, Master Gardener Program

Research Interests:

Tritrophic level interactions in agricultural systems. Behavior and ecology of insect predators. Biological control and its integration with host plant resistance for insect pest management.

Influence of variation in plant morphology on insect predator efficacy

My current research efforts focus on the influence of plant morphological variation on the control of pea aphid by its complex of predators and parasitoids. I am taking advantage of pea lines that possess single gene mutations that drastically alter the shape of leaves and stipules. By using near-isogenic lines I can control, as much as possible, other non-morphological factors such as phytochemicals and surface waxes. I have shown that changes in plant morphology did not influence the performance of the pea aphid. Subsequent research tested the hypothesis that predator efficacy should decrease as plant complexity increased. For experiments, we used near-isogenic pea lines that could be ranked from low to high complexity. Indeed, we obtained support for our hypothesis but it appears that predators have an idiosyncratic response to plant complexity. While foraging by ladybird beetleadults and larvae (Coccinella septempunctata) is hampered by increases in plant complexity, lacewing larvae (Chrysoperla rufilabris) are less affected.

In addition to exploring the effect on plant complexity, I have also studied how two other plant morphological traits influence the foraging success of coccinellid and chrysopid predators. For example, we found that the reduced stipule trait enhances predation on pea aphids and this is a trait that could be easily incorporated into pea cultivars with, presumably, no agronomic disadvantages. I hope to continue field investigations on the advantages of this morphological character. Currently, we are working on the influence of plant complexity on the intraguild interactions of pea aphid predators and parasitoids.

Select Publications:

Legrand, A.I., and A.G. Power. 1994. Inoculation and acquisition of maize bushy stunt mycoplasma by its leafhopper vector Dalbulus maidis. Annals of Applied Biology 125:116-122.

Legrand, A.I., and P.B. Barbosa. 2000. Pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum Harris (Homoptera: Aphididae) fecundity, rate of increase and within-plant distribution unaffected by plant morphology. Environmental Entomology 29: 987-993.

Legrand, A. I., and P.B. Barbosa. 2003. Plant morphological complexity impacts foraging efficiency of adult Coccinella septempunctata L. (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Environmental Entomology 32(5): 1219-1226.

Legrand, A. I., and L. Los. 2003. Visual responses of Lygus lineolaris and Lygocoris spp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) on peaches. Florida Entomologist 86(4): 424-428.