Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Alternative host plants may enhance the invasion of the Western Corn Rootworm in Europe

We investigated the performance of larvae of the invasive maize pest Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte (Chrysomelidae, Galerucinae) on roots of alternative host plants. During laboratory feeding trials we measured larval growth, amount of ingested food and determined the food conversion efficiency. We tested eight species of weeds (seven monocot and one dicot) and three monocot crops with regard to host plant suitability employing a newly established method. We additionally examined the C/N ratio and the phytosterol content of the different plant species as parameters to interpret larval performance.

Larval growth of D. v. virgifera (Western Corn Rootworm; WCR), the amount of ingested food, and the food conversion efficiency differed significantly between plant species. Plant species with high nitrogen content were less suitable for WCR development. The phytosterol content had a significant influence on the amount of ingested food, but not on larval weight gain. The performance of WCR larvae on alternative hosts was comparable to their performance on maize. The ability to use alternative hosts for larval development may contribute to the invasion potential of WCR and has important implications for integrated pest management.

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Institute for Plant Pathology / University Gottingen
Grisebachstrasse 6
37077 Gottingen
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