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Pathogens Associated with Southwestern Corn Borers and Southern Corn Stalk Borers (Lepidoptera: Crambidae)

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Abstract:

A study was undertaken to isolate entomopathogens of southwestern corn borer, Diatraea grandiosella Dyer, and southern corn stalk borer, Diatraea crambidoides (Grote). Field-collected diapausing larvae of southwestern corn borer (three sites in Mississippi) and southern corn stalk borer (one site in North Carolina), and a laboratory strain of D. grandiosella in the diapause state were maintained in a simulated winter followed by a simulated spring environment. Few larvae (≤6%) collected from any of the field sites died in the winter environment, and most insect mortality (11–25%) occurred after transfer of the larvae to the simulated spring environment. Mortality during the simulated spring period differed among the collection sites, and the highest mortality was recorded for southwestern corn borers from Washington County (25%), followed by Marshall (16%) and Oktibbeha (11%) Counties. A high level of mortality was also observed in southern corn stalk borers during the simulated spring period (27%). No viruses were observed, but a number of bacteria, microsporidia, and fungi were isolated from both southwestern corn borer and southern corn stalk borer larvae and pupae. In most instances, numerous bacterial taxa were isolated from cadavers, but on some occasions a single taxon predominated. The most prevalent bacterial taxon from larval and pupal cadavers was Enterococcus faecalis (Andrewes & Horder) Schleifer & Kilpper-Balz, but Bacillus spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Schroeter) Migula, and Serratia marcescens Bizio were frequently isolated as well. Few fungi (1–7%) were recovered from southwestern corn borer and southern corn stalk borer larvae and pupae. The most common entomopathogenic taxon isolated was Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) Vuillemin from southern corn stalk borer larvae. Microsporidia were not isolated from southern corn stalk borers. However, Nosema spp. were isolated from southwestern corn borer cadavers from Washington (15%), Marshall (1%), and Oktibbeha (3%) Counties in Mississippi. In addition, we observed parasitism of southern corn stalk borer larvae by Macrocentrus cingulum Reinhard (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). No parasitism of southwestern corn borers was observed. Isolates of Bacillus, Beauveria, Entercoccus, Nosema, Pseudomonas and Serratia were all pathogenic to southwestern corn borer larvae under controlled environmental conditions, and with the exception of B. bassiana, these are novel pathogens of Diatraea corn borers.

Keywords: Diatraea crambidoides; Diatraea grandiosella; disease; entomopathogens

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-93.6.1619

Publication date: December 1, 2000

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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