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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Maricopa, Arizona » U.S. Arid Land Agricultural Research Center » Pest Management and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #380327

Research Project: Sustainable Pest Management for Arid-Land Agroecosystems

Location: Pest Management and Biocontrol Research

Title: Arthropod demography, distribution, and dispersion in a novel trap-cropped cotton agroecosystem

Author
item Hagler, James
item Thompson, Alison
item Machtley, Scott
item MILES, CASEY - Former ARS Employee

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/26/2021
Publication Date: 2/26/2021
Citation: Hagler, J.R., Thompson, A.L., Machtley, S.A., Miles, C.T. 2021. Arthropod demography, distribution, and dispersion in a novel trap-cropped cotton agroecosystem. Journal of Insect Science. 21(1):1-10. https://doi.org/10.1093/jisesa/ieab010.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jisesa/ieab010

Interpretive Summary: Cotton is vulnerable to a wide array of insect pests. However, pest damage to cotton can be reduced by planting a more attractive host plant adjacent to cotton (a companion trap crop). Scientists at the ARS laboratory in Maricopa, Arizona examined vernonia, a desert-adapted plant, as a potential trap crop for cotton. Four rows of vernonia were embedded within a 96-row cotton field. The abundance of cotton pests and predators were determined throughout the cotton growing season. The census data showed that the arthropods had a strong preference for the vernonia trap crop. The movement of the arthropods from the trap crop into cotton was also measured using the protein immunomarking technique. Very few marked specimens were captured beyond the vernonia trap crop within a week after each marking event. The arthropods’ strong attraction and fidelity to vernonia indicate that it could serve as a trap crop for the cotton pest complex and as a refuge for natural enemies.

Technical Abstract: Vernonia (Vernonia galamensis (Cass.) Less.) (Asterales: Asteraceae) was examined as a potential trap crop for the cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L., Malvales: Malvaceae) arthropod complex. Four rows of vernonia were embedded within a 96-row cotton field. The abundance of true bug pests, true bug predators, and spiders were determined by whole plant and sweep net sampling procedures during the early, middle, and late phases of the cotton growing season. The census data showed that the arthropods had a strong preference for the vernonia trap crop throughout the cotton growing season. The movement of the arthropods from the trap crop into cotton was also measured using the protein immunomarking technique (PIT) as a mark-capture procedure. The arthropods inhabiting the vernonia trap crop were marked directly in the field with a broadcast spray application of egg albumin (protein) during each phase of the study. In turn, the captured specimens were examined for the presence of the mark by an egg albumin-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Very few marked specimens were captured beyond the vernonia trap crop 1, 3, and 6 days after each marking event. The arthropods’ strong attraction and fidelity to vernonia indicate that it could serve as a trap crop for cotton pests and a refuge for natural enemies.