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Solid-stemmed wheat does not affect overwintering mortality of the wheat stem sawfly, Cephus cinctus

Cárcamo, H.A., Beres, B.L., Herle, C.E., McLean, H., McGinn, S. (2011). Solid-stemmed wheat does not affect overwintering mortality of the wheat stem sawfly, Cephus cinctus, 11 http://dx.doi.org/10.1673/031.011.12901

Abstract

The wheat stem sawfly, Cephus cinctus Norton (Hymenoptera: Cephidae), is a key pest of wheat in the northern Great Plains of North America. Host plant resistance in the form of solid-stemmed wheat cultivars is the main control strategy for C. cinctus. This study investigated the effect of novel and traditional solid wheat hosts on the overwintering mortality and cold-hardiness of C. cinctus. Field conditions from 2003-2005 showed that overwintering mortality in various wheat cultivars averaged 8% and was not related to the type of wheat cultivar. Similarly, supercooling points (-22° C) were not influenced by wheat host type. C. cintus are cold-hardy; up to 80% survive 10 days at -20° C and 10% survive 40 days. Its overwintering microhabitat near the crown area of the plant is well insulated for temperatures above -10° C and remains ∼ 20° C above ambient minima. These data suggest that winter mortality is a minor factor in the population dynamics of wheat stem sawfly, and despite clear detrimental effects on larval weight and adult fitness, solid-stemmed cultivars do not reduce the ability of larvae to survive winters.

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