The tobacco budworm, Heliothis virescens (F.) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is an economically important pest of the Americas. Females of this species copulate multiple times during their lifetimes, and the presence of sperm from multiple males inside them could allow for a diversity of paternal genotypes in the offspring, unless there was complete precedence of sperm from the first mating. if a female copulates with a male that is insecticide-susceptible and another male that is insecticide-resistant, her progeny could vary in their resistance phenotypes. In some cases, this could impact the evolution of insecticide resistance in a population. We designed a series of experiments to determine whether Bacillus thuringiensis susceptibility is maintained when an H. virescens female that is homozygous for a genetically recessive form of B. thuringiensis resistance copulates with a Cry1Ac-susceptible and a Cry1Ac-resistant males. During the lifetime of double-copulated females, a proportion of F1 progeny were Cry1Ac-resistant. This indicates that when a B. thuringiensis-resistant H. virescens female copulates with two males, with one male being resistant to Cry1Ac, some of the progeny will carry resistance to this insecticide. Due to the polyandrous nature of this species, the above-mentioned scenario is not unrealistic; therefore, results from this study may help understand and manage the evolution of B. thuringiensis-resistance in field populations.
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Vol. 103 • No. 3