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Phenological adaptations of a colonizing insect: The southwestern corn borer, Diatraea grandiosella


The developmental rate, critical photoperiod, and diapause intensity were determined for three populations of the southwestern corn borer, Diatraea grandiosella, from Missouri, Mississippi and Kansas. Mississippi larvae grew at the highest rate and Missouri larvae grew at the lowest rate. The zero developmental temperatures (°C) for the Missouri population were estimated from regression lines as follows: 10.5° (eggs), 10.8° (diapausing larvae), 13.3° (non-diapausing larvae) and 11.4° (pupae). The required heat units were: 85° (eggs), 588° (diapausing larvae), 333° (non-diapausing larvae) and 149° days (pupae). However, the observed low temperature limit for larval growth under constant temperature regimes was approximately 17°C.

The critical day lengths for diapause induction observed at 25°C were: 15 h 11 min (Missouri); 15 h 20 min (Mississippi); and 15 h 22 min (Kansas). The photoperiodic response of the Mississippi larvae was more or less retained at 30°C, whereas the response of the Missouri larvae was completely suppressed at this temperature. Diapause was most easily terminated in the Kansas larvae. The most intense diapause was observed in the Mississippi larvae.

Model seasonal life cycles of the three geographic populations were constructed using photothermograms. Although the models showed good agreement with the field situation for the Missouri and the Kansas populations, some unknown factor(s) remains to account for an extremely long critical photoperiod in the Mississippi population.

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Contribution from the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station, as journal series no. 9001

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Takeda, M., Chippendale, G.M. Phenological adaptations of a colonizing insect: The southwestern corn borer, Diatraea grandiosella . Oecologia 53, 386–393 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00389019

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  • Larval Growth
  • Geographic Population
  • Photoperiodic Response
  • Heat Unit
  • Require Heat