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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ECOLOGICALLY BASED PEST MANAGEMENT IN MODERN CROPPING SYSTEMS

Location: North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory

Title: Phenotypic changes in laboratory-reared colonies of the maize herbivore, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera

Authors
item Li, Hongmei -
item Guillemaud, Thomas -
item French, Bryan
item Kuhlmann, Ulrich -
item Toepfer, Stefan -

Submitted to: Bulletin of Entomological Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 21, 2013
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
Citation: Li, H., Guillemaud, T., French, B.W., Kuhlmann, U., Toepfer, S. 2014. Phenotypic changes in laboratory-reared colonies of the maize herbivore, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera. Bulletin of Entomological Research. 104:97-115; doi:10.1017/S000748531300059X.

Interpretive Summary: The western corn rootworm is a major pest of corn in the U.S. and Europe, managing to circumvent population control techniques such as insecticides, crop rotation, and transgenics. This pest is widely studied where laboratory colonies are often used to conduct research on this pest. But laboratory colonies may vary widely in phenotypes and genotypes and may not always be reliable indicators of all field populations. North American and European colonies were used to assess whether environmental conditions of the natal field, subsequent laboratory rearing, or genetic population characteristics affect phenotypic traits of fitness, activity, or body form. Laboratory bioassays revealed that none of the 16 tested traits, except crawling behaviors, appeared consistently stable across all seven tested colonies. The averages and variabilities of most traits were affected to some degree by the original environmental conditions in the natal field, genetic population origin, early generation laboratory rearing, and long term laboratory rearing. A universal comparison among the many studies on western corn rootworm might be difficult as they are based on different populations or laboratory colonies collected at various times and locations. It is advised to consider possible effects of original environmental conditions, laboratory rearing, and population genetics when planning comparative studies targeting fitness, activity, or morphometric questions around corn rootworm species.

Technical Abstract: The North American and European maize pest Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) was used to assess whether environmental conditions of the natal field, subsequent laboratory rearing, or genetic population characteristics affect phenotypic traits of fitness, activity, or morphometrics. Standardized laboratory bioassays revealed that none of the 16 tested traits, except crawling behaviors, appeared consistently stable across all seven tested colonies. Environmental conditions in the natal field of F0 affected, in ca. 47% of cases the averages and in 67% of cases the variability of traits of subsequently reared F1 in laboratory. This was apparent for fitness and morphometrics, but less obvious for activity traits. Early generation laboratory rearing affected the averages of 56% of traits: morphometrics changed; fecundity and egg survival increased from F1 to F2. Variability increased or decreased in 38% of traits. Laboratory rearing over many generations affected the averages of 60% of traits, reflected by decreases in flight activity and increases in body size, weight and somewhat fecundity. It had little effect on the variability of traits, particularly not on morphometrics. The genetic population origin affected averages of 55% and variability of 63% of phenotypic traits. A comparison among the numerous studies on D. v. virgifera might be difficult as they are based on different populations or laboratory colonies. It is advised to consider possible effects of original environmental conditions, laboratory rearing and population genetics when planning comparative studies targeting fitness, activity, or morphometric questions around Diabrotica species.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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