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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DISCOVERY, IDENTIFICATION AND RISK-ASSESSMENT OF BIOCONTROL AGENTS FOR SUPPRESSION OF SOUTH AMERICAN INVASIVE WEEDS AND INSECTS IN THE U.S. Title: Chrysomelids American diabroticines Hosts and natural enemies. Biology-feasibility for control of pest species (Crisomelidos Diabroticinos americanos Hospederos y enemigos naturales Biologia y factibili manejo especies plagas

Author
item Cabrera Walsh, Guillermo -

Submitted to: Chrysomelids American Diabroticines: Hosts and natural enemies
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: April 5, 2012
Publication Date: May 4, 2012
Citation: Cabrera Walsh, G. 2012. Chrysomelids American diabroticines Hosts and natural enemies. Biology-feasibility for control of pest species (Crisomelidos Diabroticinos americanos Hospederos y enemigos naturales Biologia y factibili manejo especies plagas. Chrysomelids American Diabroticines: Hosts and natural enemies. Spain:Editorial Academica Espanola. p.1-143.

Interpretive Summary: The chrysomelids in the Diabroticites include some of the most important pest species of the American continent. The chemical and management techniques used to date to control them are: crop rotation to prevent re-infection of host crops, especially in the species that display an egg diapause; insecticide sprays against adults; and massive use of soil insecticides included with the sowing to control larvae. However, restrictions and resistance for many of these insecticides jeopardize the production of some of the staple crops in the continent. This has stimulated the search for alternative management methods. Among these, biological control and other alternative management methods appear to be the most attractive options which, however, require a comprehensive knowledge of the biology of the group. In this work we determine the host ranges of the adults and larvae of the temperate and subtropical South American Diabroticites, according to genera, and to groups within genera. There are two main groups, the fucata group of Diabrotica that have a wide range of hosts and the virgifera group of Diabrotica, that have a narrower host range, and preferred maize both as adult and larval host, as well as for oviposition. The species of Acalymma (pumpkin beetles) were in every aspect associated to the Cucurbitaceae. The results indicate that the South American Diabroticina are generally multivoltine and lack obligate reproductive diapause, or egg diapause. This contrasts with some of the North American pest corn rootworms. The Neotropical parasitoids of Diabrotica, Celatoria bosqi Blanchard, Celatoria compressa Wulp (Diptera: Tachinidae), and Centistes gasseni Shaw (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), have been known to appear in high and regular parasitism levels. Based on the known climatic factors related to the distributions of C. bosqi and C. gasseni, we composed potential distribution maps for North America. The predicted area proved to be quite limited for C. gasseni, but not so for C. bosqi, which could cover most of the area affected by the pest Diabrotica species, both in South and North America. We also discuss the role of cucurbitacins in the biology and management of rootworms. Cucurbitacins are toxic compounds almost exclusive to the squash family. These compounds serve the plant as defense against plant feeders due to their toxicity and extreme bitterness. However, for many rootworms, cucurbitacins elicit compulsive feeding, so we discuss their utility in baits. We describe and discuss the results of the use of several cucurbit species extracts adsorbed to polyester cloths used as collection and experimentation methods. The accumulated knowledge on the South American Diabroticites presented in this work is discussed in context with the known reproductive and ecological traits of the North American species, in order to analyze the probabilities of managing the pest species with methods other than the indiscriminate use of insecticides.

Technical Abstract: The chrysomelids in the Diabroticites include some of the most important pest species of the American continent. The chemical and management techniques used to date to control them are: crop rotation to prevent re-infection of host crops, especially in the species that display an egg diapause; insecticide sprays against adults; and massive use of soil insecticides included with the sowing to control larvae. However, restrictions for the use of many of these insecticides, resistance phenomena to the same, and modifications in the oviposition behaviour of some of the main pest species, jeopardize the production of some of the staple crops in the continent. This has stimulated the search for alternative management methods. Among these, biological control and other alternative management methods appear to be the most attractive options. For this, however, we require a comprehensive knowledge of the biology of the group, as well as of the trophic webs it shares. In this work we determine the host ranges of the adults and larvae of the temperate and subtropical South American Diabroticites, according to genera, and to groups within genera. In the fucata group of Diabrotica there was an apparent preference for cucurbits as adult food hosts, followed by pigweeds (Amaranthus quitensis Kunth), sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). However, larval and oviposition host ranges were found mostly in the Fabaceae and maize. The virgifera group of Diabrotica preferred maize both as adult and larval host, as well as for oviposition. The species of Acalymma were in every aspect associated to the Cucurbitaceae. The results indicate that the South American Diabroticina are generally multivoltine and lack obligate reproductive diapause, or egg diapause. The Neotropical parasitoids of Diabrotica, Celatoria bosqi Blanchard, Celatoria compressa Wulp (Diptera: Tachinidae), and Centistes gasseni Shaw (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), have been known to appear in high and regular parasitism levels. Based on the known climatic factors related to the distributions of C. bosqi and C. gasseni, we composed potential distribution maps for North America. The predicted area proved to be quite limited for C. gasseni, but not so for C. bosqi, which could cover most of the area affected by the pest Diabrotica species, both in South and North America. The geographical distribution of Diabroticites in the South American temperate and subtropical climates is also discussed in relation to the landscape management, and the distribution of their hosts, particularly of the host cucurbits. We also discuss the role of cucurbitacins in the ancestral formation of this alimentary relationship. Cucurbitacins are tetracyclic oxygenated triterpenoids that are almost exclusive to the Cucurbitaceae. These compounds serve the plant as defense against plant feeders due to their toxicity and extreme bitterness. However, for many Luperini, cucurbitacins elicit compulsive feeding, which has led to the idea of replacing massive insecticide applications by baits produced from these compounds with minor proportions of insecticides, or even pathogens. We propose that the pharmacophagous association of the Diabroticina with cucurbits could be only superficially associated with the basic biology of the group. We also discuss their utility in baits given a sexual polymorphism phenomenon in the attraction for cucurbitacins discussed in this work. We describe and discuss the results of the use of several cucurbit species extracts adsorbed to polyester cloths used as collection and experimentation methods. The accumulated knowledge on the South American Diabroticites presented in this work is discussed in context with the known reproductive and ecological traits of the North American species, in order to analyze the probabilities of managing the pest species with methods other than the indiscriminate use of insecticides.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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