The European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), is an economically important insect pest of corn, Zea mays L., in the United States and Canada. The development of genetically modified corn expressing genes derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that encodes insecticidal crystalline (Cry) proteins has proven to be effective in controlling this insect. To assess the feeding behavior of neonate O. nubilalis on Bt corn, we examined differences in feeding behavior, based on presence of plant material in the gut, between Cry1Ab Bt corn and non-Bt near isoline corn for four intervals over a 48-h period. Feeding experiments revealed that there was significantly less feeding on Bt corn compared with non-Bt near isoline corn. The behavior of neonates on the plant corresponded with the differences in feeding on the two corn lines. The findings also showed that >50% of the larvae initially left the plant before there was evidence in the gut of feeding regardless of whether the source was Bt or non-Bt corn. A higher quantity of plant material was found in the gut of larvae recovered from leaves of non-Bt compared with Bt corn. At the end of 48 h among the larvae that had left the plant, a greater proportion from Bt corn had plant material in the gut than did those from non-Bt corn.
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Vol. 104 • No. 3