Photosynthesis and Yield Reductions From Wheat Stem Sawfly (Hymenoptera: Cephidae): Interactions With Wheat Solidness, Water Stress, and Phosphorus Deficiency

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The impact of herbivory on plants is variable and influenced by several factors. The current study examined causes of variation in the impact of larval stem mining by the wheat stem sawfly, Cephus cinctus Norton (Hymenoptera: Cephidae), on spring wheat, Triticum aestivum L. We performed greenhouse experiments over 2 yr to 1) study whether biotic (hollow versus solid stemmed host wheat) and abiotic (water, phosphorus stress) factors interact with C. cinctus stem mining to influence degree of mined stem physiological (photosynthesis) and yield (grain weight) reductions; and 2) determine whether whole plant yield compensatory responses occur to offset stem-mining reductions. Flag leaf photosynthetic reduction was not detected 16–20 d after infestation, but were detected at 40–42 d and doubled from water or phosphorus stresses. Main stem grain weight decreased from 10 to 25% from stem mining, largely due to reductions in grain size, with greater reductions under low phosphorus and/or water levels. Phosphorus-deficient plants without water stress were most susceptible to C. cinctus, more than doubling the grain weight reduction due to larval feeding relative to other water and phosphorus treatments. Two solid stemmed varieties with stem mining had less grain weight loss than a hollow stemmed variety, so greater internal mechanical resistance may reduce larval stem mining and plant yield reductions. Our results emphasize the importance of sufficient water and macronutrients for plants grown in regions impacted by C. cinctus. Also, solid stemmed varieties not only reduce wheat lodging from C. cinctus, they may reduce harvested grain losses from infested stems.

Keywords: biotic; herbivory; phosphorus deficiency; stem mining; water stress

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2010

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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