Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 1–7 | Cite as

Comparative incidence of cotton spider mites on transgenic Bt versus conventional cotton in relation to contents of secondary metabolites

  • Hui Ma
  • Ming Zhao
  • Hongyan Wang
  • Zhongmin Wang
  • Qi Wang
  • Hezhong Dong
Original Paper


With the wide adoption of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton, the incidence of bollworm has reduced significantly, but secondary pests such as cotton spider mites have become serious problems in Bt cotton fields. The objective of the present study was to investigate the underlying mechanism of increased incidence of secondary pests in Bt cotton. Two transgenic cotton varieties, sGK321 and Bt-C12, and their non-transformed counterparts, SY321 and C12, were used to study differences in the incidence of spider mites in relation to secondary metabolites. Plants of each cotton cultivar were infested with five female adult spider mites and then isolated. Leaf samples with a pair of adult mites of the same age were transferred individually into Petri dishes for examination of egg laying and duration of development stages. The number of spider mites on Bt-C12 and sGK321 was more than that on C12 and SY321. The cotton spider mites feeding on Bt-C12 laid significantly more eggs than those feeding on C12; those feeding on sGK321 laid significantly more eggs than those feeding on SY321. The generation time of spider mites feeding on Bt-C12 was greatly reduced relative to those feeding on C12. Also, the generation time of mites feeding on sGK321 was shorter than those feeding on SY321. Gossypol and tannin contents in leaves of Bt-C12 were substantially lower than those in C12, and the contents in leaves of sGK321 were significantly lower than those in leaves of SY321. The occurrence of spider mites was more serious on Bt than non-Bt cotton, and the fitness of the mites on Bt cotton was higher than on non-Bt cotton. Reductions in gossypol and tannin contents in Bt cotton decreased the generation time and increased the number of eggs of cotton spider mites.


Bt cotton Cotton spider mites Secondary metabolites 



The research was supported in part by the fund of China Agricultural Research System (CARS-18-21). We are grateful for the support from Agricultural Seed Industrialization Foundation of Shandong Province (2010LZ005-04). We thank Prof. A. Egrinya Eneji of the University of Calabar, Nigeria, for critical reading of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hui Ma
    • 1
  • Ming Zhao
    • 1
  • Hongyan Wang
    • 1
  • Zhongmin Wang
    • 1
  • Qi Wang
    • 1
  • Hezhong Dong
    • 1
  1. 1.Cotton Research CenterShandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences/Key Lab for Cotton Breeding and Culture in Huanghuaihai PlaninJinanPeople’s Republic of China

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