The Colorado potato beetle is the major pest of potatoes in the United States. This insect is resistant to most pesticides registered for use against it, and so I am examining entomopathogenic nematodes for biological control. The nematode kills nearly 100% of the beetles, but it does not reproduce in the beetles. Glycoalkaloids found in the potato plants may be sequestered by the Colorado potato beetle, which then uses the toxins as defenses against natural enemies. This project examines the effects of alkaloids on the reproduction of Heterorhabditis marelatus. Elevated alkaloid levels allow greater reproduction of the nematode through moderating intraspecific competition.
Species 1: Coleoptera Chrysomelidae Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Colorado potato beetle)
Species 2: Nematoda Heterorhabditidae Heterorhabditis marelatus
The ESA 2001 Annual Meeting - 2001: An Entomological Odyssey of ESA