Dispersal of larvae of the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, in specific combinations of transgenic corn expressing the Cry3Bb1 protein and nontransgenic, isoline corn was evaluated in a 2-yr field study. In total, 1,500 viable western corn rootworm eggs were infested in each subplot. Each year, plant damage and larval recovery were evaluated among four pedigree combinations (straight transgenic; straight nontransgenic corn; nontransgenic corn with a transgenic central, infested plant; and transgenic corn with a nontransgenic central, infested plant) on six sample dates between egg hatch and pupation. For each subplot, the infested plant, three successive plants down the row (P1, P2, and P3), the closest plant in the adjacent row of the plot, and a control plant were sampled. The number of western corn rootworm larvae recovered from transgenic rootworm-resistant plants adjacent to infested nontransgenic plants was low and not statistically significant in either 2001 or 2002. In 2001, significantly fewer larvae were recovered from transgenic rootworm-resistant plants than from nontransgenic plants when both were adjacent to infested, nontransgenic plants. In 2002, significantly more neonate western corn rootworm larvae were recovered from nontransgenic plants adjacent to infested, transgenic rootworm-resistant plants than nontransgenic plants adjacent to infested, nontransgenic plants on the second sample date. Together, these data imply that both neonate and later instar western corn rootworm larvae prefer nontransgenic roots to transgenic rootworm-resistant roots when a choice is possible. However, when damage to the infested, nontransgenic plant was high, western corn rootworm larvae apparently moved to neighboring transgenic rootworm-resistant plants and caused statistically significant, although only marginally economic, damage on the last sample date in 2001. Implications of these data toward resistance management plan are discussed.
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Vol. 98 • No. 4