Submitted to: Agricultural and Forest Entomology
Publication Type: Review article
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/27/2008
Publication Date: 2/1/2009
Citation: Meinke, L., Sappington, T.W., Onstad, D., Guillemaud, T., Miller, N.J., Komaromi, J., Levay, N., Furlan, L., Kiss, J., Toth, F. 2009. Western Corn Rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) Population Dynamics. Agricultural and Forest Entomology. 11(1):29-46. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Much has been learned about the population dynamics of the western corn rootworm over the last half-century of intensive study, and this knowledge has helped humans manage this destructive pest of corn relatively successfully. However, this insect is something of a moving target when it comes to understanding key aspects of its ecology and developing effective methods of population suppression, because it has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to adapt rapidly to new environments and to human management tactics. The overall situation is complicated even more by its recent success as an invasive species in Europe, where environments and cropping systems are often not directly comparable to those in North America where most of the basic research has been conducted up to now. Furthermore, the complexity of any organism's physiology, reproductive biology, developmental biology, genetics, and behavior make it a never ending well of inquiry, and western corn rootworm is no exception. Even if we understood these traits completely, and even if adaptive plasticity were not an issue, the nature of population dynamics is indeed "dynamic." A host of environmental and intrinsic variables interact in complex ways to affect the development, survival, and behavior of the various stages of this insect. These interacting factors vary spatially at any given point in time, and temporally at a given location, producing different population outcomes depending on the scale at which the dynamics are measured: from a microhabitat, to a particular cornfield, to the farm level, to a clustering of farms, to a region. Consequently, as this review also reveals, much relevant research remains to be done.