Transgenic rice expressing Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Bt) protein can effectively control target insects including stem borers and leaf folders. However, the potential effects of Bt rice on nontarget organisms including nontarget herbivores have not been fully evaluated. In the current study, ecological fitness parameters of the nontarget herbivore, Nephotettix cincticeps (Uhler) (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), fed on T1C-19 (Cry1C) or T2A-1 (Cry2A) rice were compared with non-Bt rice (MH63) under laboratory conditions. A 2-yr field trial was also conducted to monitor the population dynamics of N. cincticeps in the Bt and control rice plots using the vacuum-suction machine and yellow sticky card traps. Laboratory results showed that there were no significant differences in some of biological parameters including egg developmental duration, adult fresh weight, adult longevity, and oviposition period when N. cincticeps fed on Bt or non-Bt rice was compared. However, the survival rate of N. cincticeps nymphs fed on T2A-1 Bt rice plants was significantly higher than that on the control. When N. cincticeps fed on T1C-19 Bt rice plants, its nymphal duration was significantly longer and fecundity significantly lower compared with those fed on both T2A-1 Bt and non-Bt rice plants; the preoviposition period of N. cincticeps fed on T1C-19 and T2A-1 Bt rice was also significantly shorter than those on non-Bt rice. Nonetheless, both seasonal density and population dynamics of N. cincticeps adults and nymphs were similar between Bt (T1C-19 and T2A-1) and non-Bt rice plots under field conditions. In conclusion, our results indicate that our two tested Bt rice lines would not lead to higher population of N. cincticeps. Long-term experiments to monitor the population dynamics of N. cincticeps at large scale need to be carried out to confirm the current results.
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Vol. 43 • No. 1