Identifying and using native insect resistance genes is the core of integrated pest management. In this study, 10 experimental corn, Zea mays L., hybrids and 10 inbred lines were screened for resistance to major ear-feeding insects in the southeastern Coastal Plain region of the United States during 2004 and 2005. Ear-feeding insect damage was assessed at harvest by visual damage rating for the corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), and by the percentage of kernels damaged by the maize weevil, Sitophilus zeamais Motschulsky, and stink bugs [combination of Euschistus servus (Say) and southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula (L.)]. Among the eight inbred lines and two control populations examined, C3S1B73-5b was resistant to corn earworm, maize weevil, and stink bugs. In contrast, C3S1B73-4 was resistant to corn earworm and stink bugs, but not to maize weevil. In a similar manner, the corn hybrid S1W*CML343 was resistant to all three ear-feeding insects, whereas hybrid C3S1B73-3*Tx205 was resistant to corn earworm and maize weevil in both growing seasons, but susceptible to stink bugs in 2005. The silk-feeding bioassay showed that corn earworm developed better on corn silk than did fall armyworm. Among all phenotypic traits examined (i.e., corn ear size, husk extension, and husk tightness), only corn ear size was negatively correlated to corn earworm damage in the inbred lines examined, whereas only husk extension (i.e., coverage) was negatively correlated to both corn earworm and maize weevil damage on the experimental hybrids examined. Such information could be used to establish a baseline for developing agronomically elite corn germplasm that confers multiple ear-feeding insect resistance.
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