Host plant preference of Melanotus communis (Coleoptera: Elateridae) among weeds and sugar cane varieties found in Florida sugar cane fields

  • Michael Karounos University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Everglades Research and Education Center, Belle Glade, Florida 33430, USA
  • Ron Cherry University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Everglades Research and Education Center, Belle Glade, Florida 33430, USA
  • Dennis Odero University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Everglades Research and Education Center, Belle Glade, Florida 33430, USA
  • Hardev Sandhu University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Everglades Research and Education Center, Belle Glade, Florida 33430, USA
  • Julien Beuzelin University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Everglades Research and Education Center, Belle Glade, Florida 33430, USA

Abstract

The corn wireworm, Melanotus communis (Gyllenhal) (Coleoptera: Elateridae), is an important soil insect pest of Florida sugar cane (Saccharum spp.; Poaceae). The objective of this study was to determine the host plant preference of M. communis adults and larvae to weeds and sugar cane varieties found in Florida sugar cane fields. Three sugar cane varieties, 3 grass weeds, and 3 broadleaf weeds were tested for their attraction to the insects in free choice tests. After a 24 h exposure to whole plant extracts (juices), most adults were found in sugar cane varieties, followed by grass weeds, then broadleaf weeds. After a 48 h exposure to chopped roots in muck soil, most larvae were found in sugar cane varieties, followed by grass weeds, then broadleaf weeds. After a 48 h exposure to chopped roots in sandy soil, most larvae were found in sugar cane varieties, followed by broadleaf weeds, then grass weeds. Our data show that in free choice tests, both M. communis adults and larvae prefer sugar cane over weeds present in Florida sugar cane fields.

 

 

Resumen

El gusano del maíz, Melanotus communis (Gyllenhal) (Coleoptera: Elateridae), es una plaga importante de la caña de azúcar (Saccharum spp.; Poaceae) en la Florida. El objetivo de este estudio fue determinar la preferencia de la planta hospedera de los adultos y larvas de M. communis a las malezas y variedades de caña de azúcar que se encuentran en los campos de caña de azúcar de la Florida. Se probaron tres variedades de caña de azúcar, 3 pastos-malezas y 3 malezas de hoja ancha por su atracción hacia los insectos en pruebas de libre elección. Después de una exposición de 24 h a extractos de plantas enteras (jugos), la mayoría de los adultos se encontraron en variedades de caña de azúcar, seguidos de los pastos-malezas y luego malezas de hoja ancha. Después de una exposición de 48 h a las raíces cortadas en el suelo de lodo, la mayoría de las larvas se encontraron en variedades de caña de azúcar, seguidas de los pastos-malezas y luego las malezas de hoja ancha. Después de una exposición de 48 h a las raíces picadas en el suelo arenoso, la mayoría de las larvas se encontraron en variedades de caña de azúcar, seguidas por los pastos-malezas y luego por las malezas con hojas anchas. Nuestros datos muestran que en las pruebas de libre elección, tanto los adultos como las larvas de M. communis prefieren la caña de azúcar en lugar de las malezas presentes en los campos de caña de azúcar en la Florida.

Key Words: wireworms; click beetles; ecology; Saccharum

View this article in BioOne https://doi.org/10.1653/024.102.0213

Author Biographies

Michael Karounos, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Everglades Research and Education Center, Belle Glade, Florida 33430, USA

Entomology, Biological Scientist

Ron Cherry, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Everglades Research and Education Center, Belle Glade, Florida 33430, USA

Entomology, Professor

Dennis Odero, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Everglades Research and Education Center, Belle Glade, Florida 33430, USA

Agronomy, Associate Professor

Hardev Sandhu, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Everglades Research and Education Center, Belle Glade, Florida 33430, USA

Agronomy, Assistant Professor

Julien Beuzelin, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Everglades Research and Education Center, Belle Glade, Florida 33430, USA

Entomology, Assistant Professor

Published
2019-07-31
Section
Research Papers