A 3-yr study (1996–1998) was conducted to evaluate the effects of MON810 Bt corn on Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) emergence and to determine whether delayed larval development as a result of Bt intoxication results in higher levels of diapause induction and pupal mortality. In the 1997 study, there was no difference in prepupal mortality between corn types, although significantly more prepupae from Bt plots than from non-Bt plots died in emergence buckets before constructing pupal chambers in 1998. In all years, significantly fewer moths emerged from prepupae collected from Bt plots, suggesting that effects of the expressed Cry1Ab extended to the prepupal and pupal stages. Late plantings of corn showed the greatest reductions in moth emergence from Bt corn because environmental conditions were more conducive to trigger diapause at the time H. zea was developing in these plantings. This was supported by a significantly greater proportion of diapausing pupae remaining in the ground in the late plantings of both Bt and non-Bt corn. For April and early May plantings, larval feeding on Bt corn delayed the time to pupation, although there was no significant difference in moth emergence between corn types for those larvae that successfully pupated. Although Bt expression had less impact on the proportion of moths emerging, the actual number of moths emerging from Bt corn was significantly reduced because fewer larvae reached pupation. Delays in adult emergence, along with significant reductions in adult emergence from MON810 Bt corn, should reduce the rates of colonization in soybean and other late host crops but may also result in asynchrony of mating between individuals emerging from Bt and non-Bt corn. This, in turn, may contribute to the evolution of resistance to Bt corn.
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Vol. 96 • No. 3