Western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera Le Conte) is a widespread pest of corn and has been targeted with a variety of insecticidal approaches, including widely-adopted transgenic crops (Bt corn). However, there are still large gaps in the literature regarding key aspects of western corn rootworm behavior. Males and females remain in copulae for several hours, and males transfer a large spermatophore to the female during this time. The composition and function of the spermatophore have never been investigated in detail. In this study, we analyzed the composition of the spermatophore, and investigated the hypothesis that spermatophores confer a fitness advantage to western corn rootworm females and their offspring. The results will be presented and the implications discussed.
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