Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Highly variable response of larvae of the invasive maize pest Diabrotica virgifera virgifera (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae) to European maize varieties

We studied the performance of larvae of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte (Chrysomelidae, Galerucinae) on 17 different maize varieties from 6 European countries. We performed food conversion efficiency studies using a newly established method. The growth of D. v. virgifera (Western Corn Rootworm, WCR) larvae and the amount of ingested food was measured and the food conversion efficiency (ECI) was calculated. In addition to this we analysed the C/N ratio and the phytosterol content of the different varieties. Significant differences between the maize varieties with regard to larval weight gain, amount of ingested food and food conversion efficiency were encountered.

The efficiency of WCR in converting root biomass into own biomass was positively correlated with the amount of nitrogen in the plant tissue. Furthermore the phytosterol content had a strong influence on larval weight gain and the amount of ingested food. It was possible to group the varieties into suitable and unsuitable cultivars with regard to WCR larval performance on the basis of the phytosterol content. Our results provide first evidence of the high variability of European maize varieties with respect to WCR nutrition. The use of less suitable maize varieties is discussed with respect to integrated pest management strategies.

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Institute for Plant Pathology / University Gottingen
Grisebachstrasse 6
37077 Gottingen
Germany
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