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Title: Host plant preference in Colorado potato beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)

item Hitchner, Erin
item Dickens, Joseph - Dick
item Youngman, Roger
item Schultz, Peter
item Pfeiffer, Douglas
item Kuhar, Thomas

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/27/2008
Publication Date: 6/1/2008
Citation: Hitchner, E.M., Dickens, J.C., Youngman, R.R., Schultz, P.B., Pfeiffer, D.G., Kuhar, T.P. 2008. Host plant preference in Colorado potato beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 101(3):859-865.

Interpretive Summary: The Colorado potato beetle (CPB) is a key pest of potato crop in North America, Europe and Asia. As CPB has rapidly developed resistance to pesticides, more sustainable approaches and multifaceted strategies are desperately needed for its management. Knowledge of host plant preferences for CPB and an understanding of the mechanisms involved could facilitate the deployment of trap crops as a component of CPB management. We showed that CPB prefers eggplant over tomato and pepper in the field, and this apparent preference may be due to the presence of males feeding on eggplant foliage. Our results indicate that host plant preference in CPB involves both plant volatiles and a male-produced aggregation pheromone. This information can be used by ecologists, chemists and plant physiologists to further investigate the mechanisms involved in host plant selection by CPB, as well as entomologists developing alternative management strategies for CPB control.

Technical Abstract: Field and laboratory-choice tests were conducted to better understand host plant preference by the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), in Virginia. In laboratory olfactometer studies, L. decemlineata preferred potato over both tomato and eggplant foliage and eggplant over tomato foliage. Field choice tests revealed more L. decemlineata adults, larvae, and egg masses on eggplant than on tomato. However, field studies using counts of live beetles on untreated paired plants and counts of dead beetles on imidacloprid-treated plants found no significant preference for potato over eggplant. There was a significant preference for eggplant over both tomato and pepper. To determine if feeding adults affected host plant choice, an imidacloprid-treated eggplant or potato plant was paired with an untreated eggplant or potato plant covered in a mesh bag containing two adult male beetles. Significantly more adults were attracted to eggplant with feeding male beetles paired with another eggplant than any other treatment combination. These results indicate that the presence of L. decemlineata on plants may affect host plant choice.