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Use of sperm precedence to infer the overwintering cost of insecticide resistance in the Colorado potato beetle

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1 Resistance to insecticides is a model system for studying adaptation. Although selection for resistance is always strong in areas and seasons where populations are exposed to insecticides, costs of resistance, which may only be expressed in the absence of insecticide use, will shape how quickly resistance will evolve.

2 We used sperm precedence to measure the shifts in resistance to imidacloprid in a natural population during winter diapause in the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Because adult beetles overwinter with viable autumn sperm, but sperm from spring matings take precedence over stored sperm, we used the difference in resistance of springmated and autumn-mated overwintered females to estimate the shift in resistance during the winter. Offspring of autumn-mated females were 2.7- or 2.5-fold more resistant compared with offspring from spring-mated females in two replicate trials.

3 We also measured the resistance of late summer and spring emergent adults in fields treated and untreated with imidacloprid in the first year. Adults from the treated field were 13.7-fold more resistant and adults from the untreated field were 2.6-fold more resistant compared with the next spring’s emergers.

4 These large costs of resistance observed in the field and inferred from resistance declines during diapause help to explain the observation that imidacloprid resistance has increased only slowly over the decade of widespread use against this species, and how insecticide resistance in general can cycle annually.

Keywords: Leptinotarsa decemlineata; diapause; pleiotropy; resistance costs; sperm competition; trade-offs

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Plant, Soil, and Insect Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, U.S.A.

Publication date: August 1, 2008


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