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Belowground Resistance to Western Corn Rootworm in Lepidopteran-Resistant Maize Genotypes

Torrence A. Gill, German Sandoya, Paul Williams, Dawn S. Luthe
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC10117 299-307 First published online: 1 February 2011


Several maize, Zea mays L., inbred lines developed from an Antiguan maize population have been shown to exhibit resistance to numerous aboveground lepidopteran pests. This study shows that these genotypes are able to significantly reduce the survival of two root feeding pests, western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, and southern corn rootworm, Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi Barber. The results also demonstrated that feeding by the aboveground herbivore fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith), before infestation by western corn rootworm reduced survivorship of western corn rootworm in the root tissues of some, but not all, genotypes. Likewise, the presence of western corn rootworm in the soil seemed to increase resistance to fall armyworm in the whorl in several genotypes. However, genotypes derived from the Antiguan germplasm with genetic resistance to lepidopterans were still more resistant to the fall armyworm and both rootworm species than the susceptible genotypes even after defense induction. These results suggest that there may be intraplant communication that alters plant responses to aboveground and belowground herbivores.

  • rootworm
  • fall armyworm
  • Lepidoptera
  • maize
  • plant-herbivore interactions

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