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Dispersal of soil-dwelling clover root weevil (Sitona lepidus Gyllenhal, Coleoptera: Curculionidae) larvae in mixed plant communities

Murray, P. J., Gregory, P. J., Granger, S. J., Headon, D. M. and Johnson, S. N. (2010) Dispersal of soil-dwelling clover root weevil (Sitona lepidus Gyllenhal, Coleoptera: Curculionidae) larvae in mixed plant communities. Applied Soil Ecology, 46 (3). pp. 422-425. ISSN 0929-1393

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2010.09.008

Abstract/Summary

Insect pests that have a root-feeding larval stage often cause the most sustained damage to plants because their attrition remains largely unseen, preventing early diagnosis and treatment. Characterising movement and dispersal patterns of subterranean insects is inherently difficult due to the difficulty in observing their behaviour. Our understanding of dispersal and movement patterns of soil-dwelling insects is therefore limited compared to above ground insect pests and tends to focus on vertical movements within the soil profile or assessments of coarse movement patterns taken from soil core measurements in the field. The objective of this study was to assess how the dispersal behaviour of the clover root weevil (CRW), Sitona lepidus larvae was affected by differing proportions of host (clover) and non-host (grass) plants under different soil water contents (SWC). This was undertaken in experimental mini-swards that allowed us to control plant community structure and soil water content. CRW larval survival was not affected either by white clover content or planting pattern or SWC in either experiment; however, lower clover composition in the sward resulted in CRW larvae dispersing further from where they hatched. Because survival was the same regardless of clover density, the proportion of infested plants was highest in sward boxes with the fewest clover plants (i.e. the low host plant density). Thus, there is potential for clover plants over a larger area to be colonised when the clover content of the sward is low.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Food Security
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Biodiversity, Crops and Agroecosystems Division > Crops Research Group
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
ID Code:32008
Publisher:Elsevier

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