Characterizing the Relationship Between Western Corn Rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) Larval Survival on Cry3Bb1-Expressing Corn and Larval Development Metrics.J Econ Entomol. 2021 10 13; 114(5):2096-2107.JE
The western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), is a significant pest of field corn, Zea mays L. (Poales: Poaceae), across the United States Corn Belt. Widespread adoption and continuous use of corn hybrids expressing the Cry3Bb1 protein to manage the western corn rootworm has resulted in greater than expected injury to Cry3Bb1-expressing hybrids in multiple areas of Nebraska. Single-plant bioassays were conducted on larval western corn rootworm populations to determine the level of resistance present in various Nebraska counties. The results confirmed a mosaic of susceptibility to Cry3Bb1 across Nebraska. Larval development metrics, including head capsule width and fresh weight, were measured to quantify the relationship between the level of resistance to Cry3Bb1 and larval developmental rate. Regression and correlation analyses indicate a significant positive relationship between Cry3Bb1 corrected survival and both larval development metrics. Results indicate that as the level of resistance to Cry3Bb1 within field populations increases, mean head capsule width and larval fresh weight also increase. This increases our understanding of western corn rootworm population dynamics and age structure variability present in the transgenic landscape that is part of the complex interaction of factors that drives resistance evolution. This collective variability and complexity within the landscape reinforces the importance of making corn rootworm management decisions based on information collected at the local level.