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The effect of western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) and water deficit on maize performance under controlled conditions

M. A. B. Mahmoud, R. E. Sharp, M. J. Oliver, D. L. Finke, M. R. Ellersieck, B. E. Hibbard
Journal of economic entomology 2016 v.109 no.2 pp. 684-698
Diabrotica virgifera virgifera, corn, eggs, greenhouse experimentation, instars, larvae, leaf water potential, neonates, plant growth, soil water, soil water deficit, soil water regimes
A series of greenhouse experiments using three infestation levels of the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, under well-watered, moderately dry, and very dry soil moisture levels were conducted to quantify the interaction of western corn rootworm and soil water deficit on B73×Mo17 maize growth and physiology. Three separate experiments were conducted using neonate, 2nd instar, and western corn rootworm eggs. Soil moisture regimes were initiated 30 days post-planting in the neonate and the second instar experiments and 30 days post infestation in the egg experiment. In the neonate and second instar experiments, there was no significant differences between western corn rootworm levels in terms of leaf water potential, shoot dry weight, and root dry weight. The interaction of western corn rootworm and soil moisture significantly impacted the larval recovery in the neonate experiment, but no significant other interactions were documented between soil moisture levels and rootworm infestation levels. Overall, results indicate that under the conditions of these experiments, the effect of water deficit was much greater than the effect of western corn rootworm and that the interactions between water deficit and western corn rootworm levels minimally affected plant measurements.