Submitted to: Agricultural and Forest Entomology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/19/2008
Publication Date: 1/21/2009
Citation: Spencer, J.L., Hibbard, B.E., Moeser, J., Onstad, D.W. 2009. Behavior and Ecology of the Western Corn Rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Agricultural and Forest Entomology. 11:9-27.
Technical Abstract: 1. Western corn rootworm beetles (WCR) are historic pests with a legacy of resistance and behavioral plasticity. Current patterns of behavior and nutritional ecology are important and relevant to the history and the future of rootworm management. The success of the most effective and environmentally benign rootworm management method, annual crop rotation, was grounded on an understanding of behavior and host plant relationships. Enthusiastic adoption of crop rotation provided excellent rootworm management, but was also selected for behavioral resistance to this cultural control. 2. Though well-studied, very significant gaps in WCR biology remain. An incomplete understanding of alternate host use, larval and adult movement, mating behavior, and oviposition may mean that assumptions incorporated into integrated pest management (IPM) and insect resistance management (IRM) plans are out of range. 3. The trend toward increasing adoption of transgenic maize will place a premium on understanding WCR behavior. Insect resistance management plans designed to promote sustainable deployment of refuges and transgenic hybrids are grounded on assumptions about movement, mating and ovipositional behavior. Our understanding of fundamental parameters of WCR biology is based on work conducted under circumstances (and geographies) that are different from those today. Expansion of WCR populations into Europe exposes this pest to new environmental and regulatory circumstances that may influence its behavior and ecology. 4. Pest managers, growers, and researchers interested in controlling WCR will be wise to study this pest’s biology and behavior for clues to novel mechanisms of management, or at the very least, for inspiration to refine current management.