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Diet improvement for western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) larvae

Man P. Huynh, Lisa N. Meihls, Bruce E. Hibbard, Stephen L. Lapointe, Randall P. Niedz, Dalton C. Ludwick, Thomas A. Coudron
Plos One 2017 v.12 no.11 pp. e0187997
Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, Zea mays, bioassays, compliance, corn, culture media, diet, ingredients, insect control, insect pests, larvae, larval development, molting, rearing, response surface methodology, roots, weight gain, Europe, United States
The western corn rootworm (WCR), Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, is the most serious insect pest of corn (Zea mays L.) in the United States and parts of Europe, and arguably one of the world's most expensive pests to control. Several diet formulations are currently used by industry and public researchers to evaluate WCR larvae in diet-toxicity bioassays. However, a publicly available diet that produces normative insects that are physiologically similar to WCR larvae reared on corn roots will accelerate development of management technologies. We report a new diet formulation that supports improved weight gain, larval development and survival compared with the only public diet for WCR that is currently available in the refereed literature. The formulation was created by using response surface methods combined with n-dimensional mixture designs to identify and improve the formulation of key ingredients. Weight gain increased two-fold, and survival and molting rates increased from 93% and 90%, respectively when reared on the public diet, to approximately 99% for both survival and molting at 11 days when reared on our new formulation. This new formulation provides a standardized growth medium for WCR larvae that will facilitate comparison of research results from various working groups and compliance with regulatory requirements.