A Louisiana strain of the sugarcane borer, Diatraea saccharalis (F.) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), was selected for resistance to the Cry1Ab protein of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) by using an F2 screening procedure. Survival of Bt-resistant, -susceptible, and -heterozygous genotypes of sugarcane borer was evaluated on vegetative and reproductive stages of five non-Bt and seven Bt field corn, Zea mays L., hybrids in a greenhouse study. Larval survival was recorded 21 d after infestation of neonates on potted plants. Larval survival across the three sugarcane borer genotypes and five non-Bt corn hybrids after 21 d ranged from 23.6 ± 5.2% (mean ± SEM) to 57.5 ± 5.2%. Mean survival of Cry1Ab-resistant larvae on vegetative and reproductive plant stages was 12 and 21%, respectively. During the vegetative stages, all seven Bt corn hybrids were highly efficacious against Cry1Ab-susceptible and -heterozygous genotypes of sugarcane borer, with a larval survival rate of <2% for the Bt-susceptible genotype and ≤5% for the heterozygotes. However, 8–18% of the heterozygous genotype survived on reproductive stage plants for four of the seven Bt corn hybrids tested. The variation in performance of Bt corn cultivars at vegetative and reproductive growth stages against Cry 1Ab resistant sugarcane borer suggests differential seasonal expression that may hasten resistance in the field. Bt corn hybrids expressing a “high dose” for European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner), may not produce a sufficient high dose for the sugarcane borer.
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