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Quantification of consumption of corn pollen by the predator Coleomegilla maculata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) during anthesis in an Illinois cornfield

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1 Coleomegilla maculata DeGeer feeds on corn pollen in the field, but the degree to which this predator relies on corn pollen as part of its diet is not well understood. We quantified the amount of pollen consumed by C. maculata second, third and fourth instars and adults in the field.

2 Laboratory experiments were conducted to determine the digestion rate and duration of different stadia or stages using temperature regimens that reflected field conditions during anthesis. Coleomegilla maculata larvae and adults were collected from the field and the amount of pollen in their digestive tracts was determined gravimetrically. The rate of digestion, duration of each life stage and the field observations were used to estimate the amount of pollen consumed by second, third and fourth instars and adults.

3 Our models estimate that larvae consume 0.66, 1.67 and 3.30 mg of pollen during the second, third and fourth stadia, respectively. Adults consumed an estimated 13.15 mg during anthesis.

4 The relevance of our results to ecological risk assessment of transgenic insecticidal corn and predator life history strategies is discussed. The results presented here are a first attempt to quantify pollen consumption by a predator, and future areas of research are suggested.
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Keywords: Biological control; Bt; Zea mays; facultative phytophagy; ladybeetles; pollinivory; risk assessment; transgenic crops

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Ecological Entomology, Illinois Natural History Survey, 607 East Peabody Drive, Champaign, IL, 61820, U.S.A.

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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