Mark-release-recapture experiments to study insect dispersal require the release of marked insects that can be easily identified among feral conspecifics. Oil-soluble dyes have been used successfully to mark various insect species. Two oil-soluble dyes, Sudan Red 7B (C.I. 26050) and Sudan Blue 670 (C.I. 61554), were added to diet of the southwestern corn borer, Diatraea grandiosella Dyar, and evaluated against an untreated control diet. Survival, diet consumption, larval and pupal weight, development time, fecundity, longevity, and dry weight of the adults were measured. Adults reared on the three diets were also tested for mating success. Some minor effects were observed for southwestern corn borers reared on the marked diets. Eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults were all reliably marked and readily identifiable. Adults retained color for their entire life span. Adults from each diet mated successfully with adults from the other diets. F1 progeny from the different mating combinations survived to the second instar but tended to lose the marker after 3–4 d on untreated diet. Both Sudan Red 7B and Sudan Blue 670 can be used to mark southwestern corn borer adults and thus should be useful for mark-release-recapture dispersal studies. The dyes will also be useful for short-term studies with marked larvae and oviposition behavior.
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Vol. 97 • No. 3