We evaluated mortality of Sparganothis sulfureana (Clemens) caused by exposing submerged insects to hypoxic (low oxygen) conditions. Taking advantage of the harvest flood in New Jersey, we measured changes in dissolved oxygen (DO) in a cranberry bog and the mortality of first-instar larvae submerged for 1 d. The DO in floodwater rose to 9.2 ppm during the day, dropped during the night to 7.1 ppm at sunrise, and increased again during the morning. Larval mortality was 3.5 ± 2.1%. In the laboratory, we evaluated the effect of submerging first-instar larvae in water at different DO for 1 d. Larval mortality was similar in all treatments but tended to increase with submergence in water with low DO. When first- through third-instar larvae were submerged in water at 15°C and 6.1 ppm DO for different periods of time, their mortality increased with longer submergence. Although long submergence (9 d) caused substantial mortality of S. sulfureana larvae, especially second and third instars, we conclude that a flood of similar duration will likely not be used because if applied to nondormant vines it could potentially impact the cranberry plant. Two important cautions for future studies were identified: (1) mortality can be substantially overestimated if hypoxia-induced lethargy is mistaken for death and (2) the impact of hypoxia may be underestimated if delayed mortality after removal from the water is not considered.
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