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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICALLY-BASED TECHNOLOGIES FOR MANAGEMENT OF CROP INSECT PESTS IN LOCAL AND AREA-WIDE PROGRAMS
2008 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Develop techniques and strategies that utilize molecular gene transfer methods to create transgenic strains of Diptera, Lepidoptera, and Coleoptera that will facilitate genetic-sexing or have novel autocidal properties for use in IPM programs. Identify strains of Lepidoptera pests, describe differences in behaviors, and isolate the genetic factors controlling these differences in order to understand how species adapt to new ecological niches and to better target biologically-based control strategies in area-wide IPM programs. Describe acoustic and other signals and cues produced by pest arthropods, including Mediterranean fruit fly, Diaprepes root weevil and other cryptic/hidden insects, and develop detection technologies and attractive devices that can be used in IPM projects to target, monitor and control pests. Develop strategies for effective use of parasitoids and predators in IPM of Lepidoptera and tephritid fruit fly pests, such as Mediterranean fruit fly, potentially invasive species of Anastrepha fruit flies and fall armyworm, through behavioral and ecological studies of their feeding, mating, dispersal and oviposition.Identify, isolate, and characterize biochemical factors from prey, or from cell lines derived from prey, that stimulate development, determine their physiological and molecular effects, and use these factors to improve artificial diets for mass-reared predators. .
2)Measure the effects of optimal and suboptimal diets, including essential and alternative prey and artificial diets, on reproductions and predatory efficiency in laboratory and field-cage studies. Identify, isolate, and characterize biochemical factors from prey, or from cell lines derived from prey, that stimulate development, determine their physiological and molecular effects, and use these factors to improve artificial diets for mass-reared predators. Measure the effects of optimal and suboptimal diets, including essential and alternative prey and artificial diets, on reproductions and predatory efficiency in laboratory and field-cage studies.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Emphasis will be placed on.
1)Using recombinant DNA constructs inserted into the piggyBac transformation vector to genetically transform strains of the fruit flies and moth ;.
2)Developing a means of generating somatic transformations to test the phenotypes and efficiencies of foreign gene constructs that lead to genetic control of pest insects;.
3)Assessing the potential for vector re-mobilization in released transgenic strains and developing new vectors that allow increased stability and targeted integration for greater efficacy and ecological safety;.
4)Defining the seasonal distributions of genetically distinct subpopulations of fall armyworm in order to investigate strain-specific behaviors related to plant host usage, migration, and mating;.
5)Identifying hidden/cryptic pests through acoustic and microwave radar technology and precisely targeting control measures to limited areas where they will be most effective;.
6)Developing economical all-female strains of fruit fly parasitoids for mass-rearing and augmentative release through sex ratio distorting microbial endosymbionts;.
7)Determining how fruit fly and moth parasitoids differ in their abilities to locate hosts at varying densities, and display different propensities to disperse from areas with relatively low host-encounter rates. BSL-1, April 2005.

Research is needed to enhance biological control of insects and mites through improved methods for rearing and deploying arthropod predators. The impact of predators can be increased through discovery of essential nutritional factors from prey or hosts that increase reproductive efficiency. Following bioassay-guided isolation and characterization, these factors will be employed as additives for artificial diets. Biochemical assays of contents of these factors in prey will also allow estimates of prey quality as food for predators. Biochemical and behavioral analyses of predators will produce estimates of fitness in insectary and field. Correlations of predator fitness with species and abundance of prey in field-cages will yield knowledge of the quality of prey as food and the quality of predators introduced into cages after rearing on selected diets in the laboratory. Predatory efficiency of generalists such as Orius insidiosus, Podisus maculiventris, and Geocoris punctipes will be assessed through predation rates and selection of prey. Their reproductive potential will be assessed as egg load. General fitness of the predators will be measured through quantitative and qualitative analyses of lipids and proteins. Results will yield commercial additives for artificial diets for predators, biochemical markers for assessment of insect quality, and tools for improved management of existing and introduced populations of predators and pest populations in the field and greenhouse.


3.Progress Report
Progress was made in the all the major goals of 6615-22000-021-00D Biologically-Based Technologies for Management of Crop Insect Pests in Local and Area-Wide Programs, identification of pest populations and their dispersal, discovery of new biological control agents, their mass-rearing and release. In relation to National Program 304 Crop Protection and Quarantine, Component II Biology of Pests and Natural Enemies, Problem Area A Basic Biology and Problem Area B Rearing of Insects and Mites; Component III Plant Pest and Natural Enemy Interactions and Ecology, Problem Area A Understanding the Complex Interactions; Component IV Postharvest, Pest exclusion and Quarantine treatment, Problem Area A Detection and Delimitation of exotic Insect Pests, Problem Area C Control and Eradication of Exotic Insect Pests and Problem Area D Fundamental Biology and Ecology of Exotic Insect Pests.

In particular, research advanced the creation of genetic modifications that can induce fruit fly male sterility for Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) programs, but which do not require debilitating irradiation of released males. Technology for inducing new genetic combinations through viruses was transferred to a number of other laboratories. In collaboration with APHIS, a genetic marker that identifies a fruit fly as mass-reared and sterile was found to be stable in a number of trap types. Such experiments will lead to the effective field release of genetically modified control agents. The migrations of the fall army worm were described in finer detail and target areas for their area-wide management are coming into focus. Work began on applying biological control to these “hot-spots”. Chemical attractants are not useful in some situations where pests are hidden and immobile, such as when they infest, grain or wood, but their presence can still be discovered through the sounds they make as they feed. Acoustic pest identification techniques were applied domestically and in overseas in Australia and Guam. Potential host-based attractants to monitor the spread and survival of mass-reared and released fruit fly parasitoids were preliminarily identified. In addition, these and similar compounds are under investigation as oviposition cues to improve production in mass-rearing facilities. New shipping techniques for insect predators commonly used in both greenhouses and in the field significantly increased their efficacy following release. In collaboration with USDA- APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service), parasitoids for the control of the invasive West Indian fruit fly were established in several Caribbean countries, where their suppression will limit the likelihood of their spread to the USA. Conservation biological control is enhanced by providing food and shelter for natural enemies, and a new trapping technique for examining the attractiveness of flowers to various parasitoids identified several candidate plants that could be used to enhance agricultural landscapes.


4.Accomplishments
1. New genes for lethality in fruit flies: Mass releases of sterile males are a widely used means to control pest fruit flies, but the radiation that sterilizes males often damages their sexual performance as well. Conditional-Lethality, where a male’s offspring die when certain environmental conditions prevail, is a promising substitute for traditional sterility. A new gene was generated through mutation and fixed in four separate lines of the Caribbean fruit fly. Flies carrying this gene die when temperatures exceed 30°C, so that males could be reared and released at lower temperatures, but their offspring would perish as the weather warmed. Such conditional systems could improve the efficacy of control programs that protect US agriculture from the Mediterranean fruit fly and other potentially invasive pests.

This accomplishment relates to National Program 304 Crop Protection and Quarantine, Components II Biology of Pests and Natural Enemies, Problem Statement B Rearing of Insects and Mites and Component IV Postharvest, Pest Exclusion and Quarantine Treatment, Problem Area A Detection and Delimitation of Exotic Insect Pests. Objective 1 Genetics, Sub-Objective 1.1 Develop transgenic strains of fruit flies and moths for improved and novel biological control strategies.

2. Source of fall army worm infestations discovered: Fall armyworm infestations in most of North America arise from annual migrations of populations that overwinter in either southern Texas or Florida. If the precise locations of these winter refuges could be discovered then early control measures might limit the numbers of migrants and protect more northern crops. A comparison of the genes within the fall armyworm corn-strain, the subgroup that preferentially infests corn and sorghum, identified differences between the Texas and Florida populations. From this it was determined that fall army worms in Georgia and South Carolina originated in Florida, but that more northerly infestations were started by Texas insects.

This accomplishment relates to National Program 304 Crop Protection and Quarantine, Component II Biology of Pests and Natural Enemies, Problem Area A Basic Biology. Objective 2 Population Dynamics, Sub-Objective 2.1 Define the seasonal distributions of genetically defined subpopulations of fall armyworm in order to investigate strain-specific behaviors related to plant host usage, migration, and mating.

3. Application of acoustic technology as an pest management tool: Many invasive and established pests live in conditions that make them difficult to locate such as in wood or underground. New analyses of temporal patterns of feeding sounds were developed that help distinguish feeding sounds made by wood infesting beetles (Asian longhorned beetle, coconut rhinoceros beetle, and red palm weevil) and subterranean grubs from background noises. The capability to detect and monitor hidden infestations can direct control measures to the specific spots where pests occur strengthen quarantines, and minimize the destruction of commodities suspected of exposure to these hidden insects.

This accomplishment relates to National Program 304 Crop protection and Quarantine, Component VI Postharvest, Pest Exclusion and Quarantine Treatment, Problem Area A Detection and Delimitation of Exotic Insect Pests. Objective 3 Detection, Sub-Objective 3.1 Identify hidden/cryptic pests and precisely target control measures to limited areas where they will be most effective.

4. Different flowers attract different species of natural enemy: Flowers provide food for small wasps whose larvae develop in and kill many insect species, including major pests. Pest mortality might be increased if the most appropriate plants could be placed se insects could be grown in and around agricultural settings. Traps baited with 10 species of flowering plants found that various flowers attracted very different natural enemies and that flower and plant shape were important factors in determining which insects were captured. By providing a variety of plants that flower at different seasons and maintain the most beneficial types of natural enemies it may be possible to suppress caterpillars in crops.

This accomplishment relates to National Program 304 Crop Protection and Quarantine, Component III Plant Pest and natural Enemy Interactions and Ecology, Problem Area A Understanding the Complex Interactions. Objective 4 Biological Control, Sub-Objective 4.3 Determine larval and adult food sources to be incorporated into agroecosystems in order to conserve, amplify and prevent the dispersal of natural enemies of Lepidoptera and fruit fly pests.


5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
None.


6.Technology Transfer

Number of the New MTAs (providing only)3
Number of Non-Peer Reviewed Presentations and Proceedings13
Number of Other Technology Transfer1

Review Publications
Garcia-Medel, D., Sivinski, J.M., Diaz-Fleischer, F., Ramirez-Romero, R., Aluja, M. 2007. Foraging behavior by six fruit fly parasitoids(Hymenoptera:Braconidae) released as single- or multiple-species cohorts in field cages: influence of fruit location and host density. Biological Control. 43:12-22.

Handler, A.M., Zimowska, G.J., Horn, C. 2007. Improving the ecological safety of transgenic insects for field release: New vectors for stability and genomic targeting. Area-Wide Control of Insect Pests: From Research to Field Implementation. 73-83.

Nagoshi, R.N., Silvie, P., Meagher Jr, R.L., Lopez, J., Machado, V. 2007. Identification and comparison of fall armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) host strains in Brazil, Texas, and Florida. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 100(3):394-402.

Nagoshi, R.N., Silvie, P., Meagher Jr, R.L. 2007. Comparison of haplotype frequencies can differentiate fall armyworm (Lepidoptera:Noctuidae) corn-strain populations from Florida and Brazil. Journal of Economic Entomology. 100(3):954-961.

Luciani, G., Altpeter, F., Yactayo-Chang, J., Zhang, H., Gallo, M., Meagher Jr, R.L., Wofford, D. 2007. Expression of crylFa in bahiagrass resistance to fall armyworm. Crop Science. 47:2430-2436.

Rohrig, E.A., Sivinski, J.M., Teal, P.E., Stuhl, C.J., Aluja, M. 2008. A floral-derived compound attractive to the tephritid fruit fly parasitoid Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Journal of Chemical Ecology. 34:549-557.

Meagher Jr, R.L., Landolt, P.J. 2008. Attractiveness of binary blends of floral odorant compounds to moths in Florida, USA. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 128(2):323-329.

Handler, A.M., Zimowska, G., Armstrong, K.F. 2008. Highly similar piggyBac elements in Bactrocera that share a common lineage with elements in noctuid moths. Insect Molecular Biology. 17(4):387-393

Nagoshi, R.N., Meagher Jr, R.L., Flanders, K., Gore, J., Jackson, R.E., Lopez, J., Armstrong, J.S., Buntin, G.D., Sansone, C., Leonard, B.R. 2008. Using haplotypes to monitor the migration of fall armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) corn-strain populations from Texas and Florida. Journal of Economic Entomology. 101(3):742-749.

Yokoyama, V.Y., Rendon, P., Sivinski, J.M. 2008. Psyttalia cf. concolor (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) for Biological Control of Olive Fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) in California. Journal of Economic Entomology. 37: 764-773

Mankin, R.W., Lemon, M., Harmer, A.M., Evans, C.S., Taylor, P.W. 2008. Time-pattern and frequency analyses of sounds produced by irradiated and untreated male Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (Diptera: Tephritidae) during mating behavior. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 101:664-674.

Mankin, R.W., Mizrach, A., Hetzroni, A., Levsky, S., Nakache, Y., Soroker, V. 2008. Temporal and spectral features of sounds of wood-boring beetle larvae: identifiable patterns of activity enable improved discrimination from background noise. Florida Entomologist. 91:241-248.

Mankin, R.W., Smith, M.T., Tropp, J.M., Atkinson, E.B., Jong, D.Y. 2008. Detection of Anoplophora glabripennis (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) larvae in different host trees and tissues by automated analyses of sound-impulse frequency and temporal patterns. Journal of Economic Entomology. 101:838-849.

Perez-Staples, D., Aluja, M., Macias-Ordonez, R., Sivinski, J.M. 2008. Reproductive trade-offs from mating with a successful male: the case of the tephritid fly Anastrepha obliqua. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 62:1333-1340.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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