Main content area

Preference of Bt‐resistant and susceptible Busseola fusca moths and larvae for Bt and non‐Bt maize

Visser, Andri, du Plessis, Hannalene, Erasmus, Annemie, Van den Berg, Johnnie
Entomologia experimentalis et applicata 2019 v.167 no.10 pp. 849-867
Bacillus thuringiensis, Busseola fusca, Zea mays, at-risk population, avoidance behavior, bioassays, boring insects, corn, crops, cultivars, eggs, evolution, feeding preferences, females, genetic engineering, imagos, insect larvae, insect resistance, leaves, moths, neonates, oviposition, proteins, resistance management, stems, toxins, transgenic plants
The sustainability of genetically engineered insecticidal Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bt) maize, Zea mays L. (Poaceae), is threatened by the evolution of resistance by target pest species. Several Lepidoptera species have evolved resistance to Cry proteins expressed by Bt maize over the last decade, including the African maize stem borer, Busseola fusca (Fuller) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). The insect resistance management (IRM) strategy (i.e., the high‐dose/refuge strategy) deployed to delay resistance evolution is grounded on certain assumptions about the biology and ecology of a pest species, for example, the interactions between the insect pest and crop plants. Should these assumptions be violated, the evolution of resistance within pest populations will be rapid. This study evaluated the assumption that B. fusca adults and larvae select and colonize maize plants at random, and do not show any preference for either Bt or non‐Bt maize. Gravid female B. fusca moths of a resistant and susceptible population were subjected to two‐choice oviposition preference tests using stems of Bt and non‐Bt maize plants. Both the number of egg batches as well as the total number of eggs laid on each stem were recorded. The feeding preference of Bt‐resistant and susceptible neonate B. fusca larvae were evaluated in choice test bioassays with whorl leaf samples of specific maize cultivars. Although no differential oviposition preference was observed for either resistant or susceptible female moths, leaf damage ratings indicated that neonate larvae were able to detect Bt toxins and that they displayed feeding avoidance behaviour on Bt maize leaf samples.