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Flooding Influences Ovipositional and Feeding Behavior of the Rice Water Weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

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The rice water weevil, Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus Kuschel, is the most destructive insect pest of rice in the United States. As part of an effort to develop strategies to manage this pest, the ovipositional and feeding habits of L. oryzophilus on rice plants subjected to different flooding treatments were characterized in greenhouse studies. Presence and depth of flood had a direct influence on the ovipositional behavior of weevils in no-choice studies. More eggs were found in flooded plants than in unflooded plants. Moreover, plants flooded to a depth of 5.1 cm received more eggs than plants flooded to depths of 1.3 or 10.2 cm. Presence and depth of flood influenced both the proportion of females that oviposited in plants and the number of eggs laid by those females that did oviposit. In choice studies, female weevils showed a marked ovipositional preference for plants flooded to a depth of 10.2 cm over unflooded plants and plants flooded to a depth of 1.3 cm. In separate choice experiments, adult rice water weevils fed more on flooded plants than on unflooded plants. In a third set of experiments, flooded plants were taller and had higher concentrations of 10 of 13 plant nutrients than unflooded plants. Thus, flooding may influence rice water weevil behavior both directly, by acting as a stimulus for feeding or oviposition, and indirectly, by inducing changes in the suitability of rice plants for feeding or oviposition. These data suggest that it may be possible to manipulate populations of weevils in rice by changing water management practices.

Keywords: Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus; Oryza sativa; flooding; oviposition; rice; rice water weevil

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-95.4.715

Publication date: August 1, 2002

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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