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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Use of Lycopodium Clavatum Spores As a Marker for Insect Dispersal

Authors
item Jones, Gretchen
item Lopez, Juan DE Dios
item Westbrook, John

Submitted to: Palynology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 8, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Numerous markers including paints, dyes, exotic protein, tags, and bands have been used to determine the origin and dispersal of organisms. Most marking techniques require that individuals be captured, marked, released, recaptured, and re-examined. A new method of marking was developed using the spores of Lycopodium clavatus, a geographically restricted plant species. The Lycopodium spores were incorporated in a liquid sucrose solution and sprayed onto mature corn plants June 11-12, 1996, at Hargill, Texas. Adult corn earworms were self-marked with Lycopodium spores as they fed on the sucrose solution. For several days after the application of the sucrose solution, adult corn earworms were captured in pheromone traps and frozen for subsequent microscopic examination. The digestive tract of the corn earworms was removed and examined for the presence of the spores. Lycopodium spores were found in the digestive tract of large numbers of adult corn earworms captured near cornfields treated with the sucrose solution. In addition, moths marked with Lycopodium spores were captured at Moore Air Base, La Gloria, and Tilden, Texas, at a range of 32, 39, and 234 km respectively, from the treated fields. This marking method was non-toxic, easy to use, and inexpensive, and will help scientists determine origins and pathways of dispersed organisms.

Last Modified: 4/24/2014