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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 AREAWIDE PROGRAMS

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit

Title: Inferring the annual migration patterns of fall armyworm(Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in the United States from mitochondrial haplotypes

Authors
item Nagoshi, Rodney
item Meagher, Robert
item Hay Roe, Mirian

Submitted to: Ecology and Evolution
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 31, 2012
Publication Date: July 1, 2012
Citation: Nagoshi, R.N., Meagher Jr, R.L., Hay-Roe, M.M. 2012. Inferring the annual migration patterns of fall armyworm(Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in the United States from mitochondrial haplotypes. Ecology and Evolution. 2(7):1458-1467.

Interpretive Summary: Fall armyworm, a major pest of corn and cotton in the Western Hemisphere, does not survive freezing winters yet annually infest much of the continental USA and Canada. These populations arise from fall armyworm that overwinter in the southern regions of Florida and Texas.Understanding how these overwintering populations annually disperse is important to efforts to predict and control infestations by this pest. Scientists at the USDA- Agriculture Research Service, Center for Medical Agricultural & Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida, recently developed a genetic method to map these migratory pathways. While discrete patterns were observed, there was a region of overlap in the area that included the border of Alabama and Georgia. This “hybrid zone” provided an opportunity to test the resolution of the method, specifically whether and to what degree the boundaries between the Texas and Florida migrations can be defined. Migratory boundaries changed over time and the potential of this strategy for long-term studies on the migration of fall armyworm is discussed.

Technical Abstract: 1. Regions of southern Florida, USA and southern Texas, USA (extending into Mexico)provide the source populations for virtually all fall armyworm infestations affecting the continental USA. Understanding how these overwintering populations annually disperse is important to efforts to predict and control infestations by this pest. 2. The two overwintering locations are associated with differences in the distribution of certain mitochondrial haplotypes. These haplotypes were used to develop a molecular method capable of differentiating the two populations. This method was used to demonstrate that the Florida and Texas migrations affect different parts of the country but overlap in the region near the border separating the states of Alabama and Georgia. This “hybrid zone” provided an opportunity to test the resolution of the haplotype method, specifically whether and to whatd egree the boundaries between the Texas and Florida migrations can be defined. 3. Extensive surveys of the Alabama-Georgia region were performed over a single corn growing season in 2007 and the distribution of haplotype numbers and ratios compared.Migratory boundaries for different time periods were inferred from the data. The potential of this strategy for long-term studies on the migration of fall armyworm is discussed

Last Modified: 8/29/2014
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