Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 15, 2012
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Water deficit affects the extent to which crops are afflicted by arthropod pests. It can be unfavorable to insect pests because of decreased plant turgor hindering feeding by aphids, desiccation of insects, and increases in plant defensive compounds may render the plant unsuitable. Water deficit stress can also lead to host plant accumulations of free amino acids, carbohydrates, and other nutrients favoring insect growth and development, sometimes leading to acceleration of arthropod infestation in field crops and even area-wide outbreaks. This chapter also offers a detailed examination of the Mexican rice borer’s physical, biochemical, and ecological interactions involving limited availability of water.
In addition to making otherwise arable regions less, or nonarable, from lack of life-sustaining water, water deficit also affects the extent to which crops are afflicted by arthropod pests. This chapter focuses on the effects of water deficit stress on physical and nutritional aspects of host plants that positively or negatively affect arthropod pests of crops are investigated. Water deficit in host plants can be unfavorable to insect pests because decreased plant turgor hinders fluid uptake by plant-sucking arthropods, desiccation of insects exposed to ambient heat can occur, and increases in secondary defensive plant compounds (e.g., phenolics) and lignification of plant tissues may render the plant unsuitable. Water deficit stress can also lead to host plant accumulations of proteins, carbohydrates, free amino acids, and other nutrients that favor insect growth and development, sometimes leading to outbreaks, as in the instances of bark beetles in forests, and accelerated insect infestation in field crops. In addition to presenting an overview of the effects of plant-associated water deficit stress on arthropods, this chapter also offers a more detailed examination of an invasive stalkboring pest, the Mexican rice borer, Eoreuma loftini (Dyar), its relatively recently reported physical, biochemical, and ecological interactions involving water deficit stressed sugarcane.