Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/15/2008
Publication Date: 12/19/2008
Citation: Hibbard, B.E., Schweikert, Y.M., Higdon, M.L., Ellersieck, M.R. 2008. Maize Phenology Affects Establishment, Damage, and Development of the Western Corn Rootworm (Coleoptera:Chrysomelidae). Journal of Environmental Entomology. 37:1558-1564.
Interpretive Summary: The western corn rootworm (WCR) is a major insect pest in continuous corn production. By feeding on corn roots, WCR causes economic losses due to plant lodging and decreased nutrient uptake, both resulting in yield loss. Currently, insecticides and transgenic corn are the only available options for its control under continuous corn production. A better understanding of WCR basic biology is one way that new management options may be developed. The effects of maize phenology (structure and growth habit) on WCR establishment, adult emergence and plant damage were evaluated in the greenhouse and in field trials in 2001 and 2002. Although newly hatched WCR were able to initially establish on maize roots during pollen shed and early reproductive stages, these older roots were unsuitable for WCR development. An understanding of the causal mechanisms of this phenomena could lead to the development of maize lines with the pertinent factors at a much younger age and a new WCR management tool.
Technical Abstract: The effects of maize (Zea mays L.) phenology on establishment and adult emergence of the western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) as well as plant damage to maize was evaluated in the greenhouse and in field trials in 2001 and 2002. Although neonate western corn rootworm larvae were able to initially establish on maize roots during anthesis and early reproductive stages, these older roots were apparently unsuitable for complete western corn rootworm larval development. The number of western corn rootworm beetles which emerged from eggs which hatched from anthesis to early reproductive stages was significantly fewer than the number of beetles that emerged from any earlier egg hatch time. Plant damage was also lowest from larvae which eclosed during this period. Potential causal mechanism and implications of these data in terms of potential management strategies in the future are discussed.