Entomology, Department of


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Published in Journal of Insect Behavior 2009. doi: 10.1007/s10905-009-9190-3 Published by Springer Verlag.


To examine how resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins influences movement and survival of European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis [Hübner]) neonates, the responses of Cry1Ab-resistant , -susceptible, and hybrid (F1) larvae were examined using two different techniques. First, using an automated videotracking system, aspects of O. nubilalis movement were quantified in the presence of artificial diet incorporating 50% non-Bt or insect-resistant Cry1Ab maize tissue. Second, O. nubilalis dispersal and survival were measured 48–72 h after hatching on a Cry1Ab maize plant surrounded by two non-Bt maize plants. Video tracking indicated the presence of Cry1Ab tissue increased the total distance moved (m), time moving (%), and time away from the diet (%) for O. nubilalis while decreasing meander (degrees/cm). However, resistant larvae showed reduced movement and increased meander (≈localized searching) relative to susceptible or hybrid larvae on diet incorporating Cry1Ab tissue. Conversely, when placed onto Cry1Ab maize plants, resistant larvae were more likely than susceptible O. nubilalis to disperse onto adjacent non-Bt plants. The difference in on-plant dispersal seems to reflect greater survival after toxin exposure for resistant larvae rather than increased activity. These results suggest that simplified ‘Petri dish’ tests may not be predictive of larval movement among non-Bt and insect-resistant Bt maize plants. Because models of O. nubilalis resistance evolution incorporate various movement and survival parameters, improved data for on-plant behavior and survival of Bt- resistant , -susceptible, and hybrid larvae should help preserve the efficacy of transgenic insect-resistant maize.

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