Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2004
Publication Date: 1/15/2005
Citation: Tallamy, D., Hibbard, B.E., Clark, T.L., Gillespie, J. 2005. Western corn rootworm, cucurbits, and cucurbitacins. In: Vidal, S.; Kuhlmann, U.; Edwards, R., editors. Ecology and Management of Western Corn Rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte). Wallingford, United Kingdom:CABI publishers. p.67-93.
Technical Abstract: For more than a century, researchers have noted the curious attraction of adult Luperine beetles in the family Chrysomelidae in the subtribes Diabroticina and Aulacophorina to cucurbit species rich in the bitter compounds collectively called cucurbitacins. Beetles can locate cucurbits over long distances by tracking flower and wound volatiles, and cucurbitacins are phagostimulants for Diabroticites that, despite their noxious effects on other insects, cause them to eat anything containing these compounds. Such behaviors characterize most, if not all, phytophagous insects that specialize on a particular group of plants. What is curious is that most Luperines that are attracted to cucurbits are not cucurbit specialists. Instead, they develop to maturity on grasses (Diabrotica virgifera group), legumes (Ceratomites), or plants in other unrelated families such as Solanaceae, Convolvulaceae, Fabaceae, or Asclepiadaceae (Diabrotica fucata group). In this chapter, theories behind the interaction are discussed and evidence is provided which supports on one of the theories over the other. In addition, use of the interaction for pest management is also discussed.