Characterizing the Interaction Between Fire Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and Developing Soybean Plants
Authors: Shatters, Robert G.; Vander Meer, Robert K.
Source: Journal of Economic Entomology, Volume 93, Number 6, December 2000 , pp. 1680-1687(8)
Publisher: Entomological Society of America
Abstract:This research characterizes the interaction between the fire ants Solenopsis invicta Buren and developing soybean plants. Phagostimulant studies showed that fire ant foraging on soybean seeds increased once the seeds imbibed water. During seedling development over a 5-d germination period, fire ant foraging shifted from the stem/cotyledons to the roots, despite continual increases in fresh weights for each region, and the fact that stem/cotyledon tissue contained the majority of food reserves. Carbohydrate analysis showed that although 2-d-old seedlings had higher concentrations of phagostimulant carbohydrates, especially sucrose, than tissues of mature plants, all tissues analyzed had enough of these sugars to induce a phagostimulant response. Fire ant association with seeds/seedlings germinated in soil resulted in reduced seedling vigor, as determined by a doubling of seedling emergence time, a threefold increase in malformed seedlings, and visible damage to cotyledons. Seeds germinated and grown to mature plants in association with fire ants, allocated 43% more assimilate into pods, but produced 28% less root dry matter, 11% less total dry matter, and there was an 81% reduction in the number of root nodules compared with control plants. We propose that reduced root development and inhibitions of nodule formation would be major yield limiting factors under field conditions. This work demonstrates that fire ant damage to soybeans is not limited to seedling establishment and that more research should be directed at the subterranean activities of the fire ant.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2000-12-01
- 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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