If registered, transgenic corn, Zea mays L., with corn rootworm resistance will offer a viable alternative to insecticides for managing Diabrotica spp. corn rootworms. Resistance management to maintain susceptibility is in the interest of growers, the Environmental Protection Agency, and industry, but little is known about many aspects of corn rootworm biology required for an effective resistance management program. The extent of larval movement by the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, that occurs from plant-to-plant or row-to-row after initial establishment was evaluated in 1998 and 1999 in a Central Missouri cornfield. Post-establishment movement by western corn rootworm larvae was clearly documented in two of four treatment combinations in 1999 where larvae moved up to three plants down the row and across a 0.46-m row. Larvae did not significantly cross a 0.91-m row after initial host establishment in 1998 or 1999, whether or not the soil had been compacted by a tractor and planter. In the current experiment, western corn rootworm larvae moved from highly damaged, infested plants to nearby plants with little to no previous root damage. Our data do not provide significant insight into how larvae might disperse after initial establishment when all plants in an area are heavily damaged or when only moderate damage occurs on an infested plant. A similar situation might also occur if a seed mixture of transgenic and isoline plants were used and if transgenic plants with rootworm resistance are not repellent to corn rootworm larvae.
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Vol. 96 • No. 3