Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SUNFLOWER GERMPLASM DIVERSIFICATION AND CHARACTERIZATION UTILIZING WILD SUNFLOWER SPECIES, CYTOGENETICS, AND APPLIED GENOMICS

Location: Sunflower Research

Title: Adult activity and oviposition of corn rootworms, Diabrotica spp. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), in Miscanthus, corn, and switchgrass

Authors
item Prasifka, Jarrad
item Spencer, Joseph -
item Tinsley, Nicholas -
item Estes, Ronald -
item Gray, Michael -

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 23, 2013
Publication Date: August 1, 2013
Citation: Prasifka, J.R., Spencer, J.L., Tinsley, N.A., Estes, R.E., Gray, M.E. 2013. Adult activity and oviposition of corn rootworms, Diabrotica spp. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), in Miscanthus, corn, and switchgrass. Journal of Applied Entomology. 137(7):481-487.

Interpretive Summary: The ability of the biomass crop Miscanthus to support larval development for both United States (U.S.) and European populations of the western corn rootworm suggests potential for Miscanthus to interact with corn. To provide context to survival of western corn rootworms on Miscanthus, adult activity and oviposition of three rootworm species were monitored in central Illinois in 2010–2011 in Miscanthus, corn, and switchgrass. For western corn rootworms, traps within corn plots captured 3–10 times as many adults as in Miscanthus or switchgrass, while soil samples showed females laid approximately 10 times as many eggs in corn as in the perennial grasses. Adult southern corn rootworms were the most abundant species in 2010, and clearly preferred switchgrass as an adult habitat, with traps in switchgrass capturing 5–10 times as many adults as those in corn or Miscanthus. Based on the small production areas for Miscanthus and switchgrass (and low use of both by D. v. virgifera), it seems likely that there are no current impacts of these perennial grasses on pest status of rootworm species in corn or other crops. However, a history of rootworm adaptations to pest management practices suggests it could be a source for interactions between biomass and food or feed crops. Early-season soil samples did not recover eggs of southern corn rootworms, but their use of switchgrass as an adult habitat suggests additional research in southern areas, especially where switchgrass may be grown near peanuts, alfalfa or other hosts, may be needed. Also, investigation of other candidate bioenergy crops known to support rootworm larval development is needed to better understand the possible effects of a changing agricultural landscape on corn rootworms.

Technical Abstract: The ability of the biomass crop Miscanthus (Miscanthus × giganteus Greef and Deuter ex Hodkinson and Renvoize) to support larval development for both United States (U.S.) and European populations of the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, suggests an avenue for potential interactions with corn (Zea mays L.). To provide context to survival of D. v. virgifera on Miscanthus, adult activity and oviposition of Diabrotica spp. were monitored in central Illinois in 2010–2011 in Miscanthus, corn, and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.). For D. v. virgifera, vial traps within corn plots captured 3–10 times as many adults as in Miscanthus or switchgrass, while soil samples showed females laid approximately 10 times as many eggs in corn as in the perennial grasses. Adult southern corn rootworms, Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi Barber, were the most abundant species in 2010, and clearly preferred switchgrass as an adult habitat, with vial traps in switchgrass capturing 5–10 times as many D. u. howardi as those in corn or Miscanthus. Based on the small production areas for Miscanthus and switchgrass (and low use of both by D. v. virgifera), it seems likely that there are no current impacts of these perennial grasses on pest status of Diabrotica spp. in corn or other crops. However, adaptations by Diabrotica spp. to pest management practices suggest it could be a source for interactions between biomass and food or feed crops. Early-season soil samples did not recover eggs of D. u. howardi, but their use of switchgrass as an adult habitat suggests additional research in southern areas, especially where switchgrass may be grown near peanuts, alfalfa or other hosts, may be needed. Also, investigation of other candidate bioenergy crops known to support Diabrotica spp. larval development is needed to better understand the possible effects of a changing agricultural landscape on corn rootworms.

Last Modified: 8/29/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page