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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #348516

Research Project: Managing Insects in the Corn Agro-Ecosystem

Location: Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research

Title: Migratory flight of insect pests within a year-round distribution: European corn borer as a case study

item Sappington, Thomas

Submitted to: Journal of Integrative Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/11/2018
Publication Date: 7/12/2018
Citation: Sappington, T.W. 2018. Migratory flight of insect pests within a year-round distribution: European corn borer as a case study. Journal of Integrative Agriculture. 17(7):1485-1505.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Migratory flight behavior in insects fundamentally differs from most other kinds of flight behavior, because it is non-appetitive. It is unrelated to searching, and thus is not terminated by encounters with potential resources. Many insect pests of agricultural crops are long-distance migrants, moving from lower latitudes where they overwinter to higher latitudes in the summer to exploit superabundant, but seasonally ephemeral, host crops. The migratory nature of these pests is somewhat easy to recognize because of their sudden appearance in areas where they had been absent only a day or two earlier. Many other serious pests survive hostile winter conditions by diapausing, and therefore do not require migration to move between overwintering and breeding ranges. Yet there is evidence of migratory behavior engaged in by several pest species that inhabit high latitudes year-round. In these cases, the consequences of migratory flight are not immediately noticeable at the population level, because migration takes place for the most part within their larger year-round distribution. Nevertheless, the potential population-level consequences can be quite important in the contexts of pest management and insect resistance management. As a case study, I review the evidence for migratory flight behavior by individual European corn borer adults, and discuss the importance of understanding it. For comparison, I briefly review the evidence for migratory behavior in boll weevil and western corn rootworm within their year-round ranges. The kind of migratory behavior posited for these pest species, perhaps corresponding to so-called "nomadic" migration, may be more common than we realize.