Monday, December 11, 2006 - 9:35 AM

Dispersal behavior of neonate European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), on transgenic Bt corn

Jessica Goldstein, Jag@udel.edu1, Charles Mason, mason@udel.edu1, and John Pesek, pesek@UDel.Edu2. (1) University of Delaware, Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, 250 Towsend Hall, Newark, DE, (2) University of Delaware, Food and Resource Economics, 227 Towsend Hall, Newark, DE

Most Lepidoptera disperse as adults where they are able to fly long distances, but in some groups the larvae disperse as well. Larval dispersal takes the form of ballooning where the larvae use their silk to hang off of plant surfaces and some get picked up by the wind. The longer the silk length, the greater the drag and the more likely the larva is to get picked up by the wind and the farther the larva will travel. The European corn borer (ECB), Ostrinia nubilalis, has been observed ballooning and is currently the target of a large control effort using transgenic Bt corn. We examined the differences between ECB larval dispersal on Pioneer 34K78 Mon 810 event Bt corn and Pioneer 34K77 non-Bt isoline corn. We allowed an ECB egg mass to hatch on either a Bt or non-Bt plant and recovered the larvae 24 hours later to see if they had left the plant. We then used a logistic regression mixed model to test the significance of the data. Our results suggest that ECB larvae that hatch out on a Bt corn plant abandon that plant with a much higher frequency than ECB larvae that hatch out on a non Bt corn plant. This behavior could help behavioral resistance to Bt corn to evolve in ECB.

Species 1: Lepidoptera Crambidae Ostrinia nubilalis (European corn borer)

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