Effects of Novel Solid-stemmed Wheat Genotype on Cephus cinctus Norton and its Parasitoid Bracon cephi
Host plant resistance in the form of wheat with the stem lumen filled with pith has been the main strategy to manage the wheat stem sawfly, Cephus cinctus Norton (Hymenoptera: Cephidae) — a major pest of wheat in the northern Great Plains of North America. Recently a new source of resistance has been made available combining a single dominant solid pith gene from durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. var. durum) with spring bread wheat cultivars. Our study had two objectives: (i) assess levels of C. cinctus damage and larval C. cinctus mortality in wheat with the novel solid germplasm, conventional solid-stems and susceptible cultivars; and (ii) determine plant genotype effects on populations of C. cinctus parasitoid Bracon cephi (Gahan) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). The study was conducted in plots near Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada from 2003–2005. The novel solid-stemmed hexaploid G9608B1-L12J11BF02, solid-stemmed AC Eatonia and hollow-stemmed durum AC Navigator reduced the infestation level and girdling damage by C. cinctus. Another synthetic hexaploid B9973B03&AC4AW, hollow-stemmed AC Cadillac, McKenzie and AC Barrie were more susceptible to C. cinctus damage. Larval parasitism by B. cephi increased along with C. cinctus infestation levels. Stem solidness itself, regardless of source, had no direct negative effect on B. cephi but due to lower infestation and survival of C. cinctus in solid stem genotypes, the overall population of parasitoids was reduced. When planting monocultures of effective solid stem wheat, strategies to conserve populations of parasitoids should be considered for long term sustainable management of C. cinctus.
KeywordsCephus cinctu Bracon cephi tritrophic interactions biological control
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