We evaluated 21 prairie grass species thought to be among those dominant 200 yr ago in the western Great Plains as larval hosts of the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte. Maize, Zea mays L., and sorghum, Sorghum bicolor L., were included as positive and negative controls. Twenty pots of each test species were planted, and each pot was infested 5 wk later with 20 neonate western corn rootworm larvae. Four pots within each of four replications were randomly assigned a sample date for larval extraction. The remaining pot from each replication was used to monitor adult emergence. At 5, 10, 15, and 20 d after infestation, pot contents from assigned pots were placed in Tullgren funnels equipped with 60 W-lights for extraction of larvae. The percentage of larvae recovered, larval head capsule width, and adult emergence varied significantly among the grass species. The percentage of larvae recovered from western wheatgrass, Pascopyrum smithii (Rydb.); pubescent wheatgrass, Elytrigia intermedia (Host); and side-oats grama, Bouteloua curtipendula Michx., was not significantly different than that from maize when sample dates were combined. The number of adults produced from pubescent wheatgrass was not significantly different than the number produced from maize. The average dry weight and head capsule width of adults produced from grass species were not significantly different than the head capsule widths and dry weights of those adults from maize. Overall, adults were produced from 14 of the 23 species evaluated. The results from this study are discussed in relation to the potential ancestral hosts of western corn rootworm larvae and in relation to resistance management of transgenic maize.
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