An Edge Effect Caused by Adult Corn Rootworm Beetles on Sunflowers in Tallgrass Prairie Remnants - McKone - 2001 - Conservation Biology - Wiley Online Library

Abstract Abstract: Once upon a time a community of high prairie grasslands in North America has been reduced to small remnants, many of which are surrounded Of intensive maize maize (Zea mays) . We investigated adults of the beetle (Chrysomelidae: Diabrotica spp.), An important pest of maize, in sunflowers (Asteraceae: Helianthus spp.) In remnants of prairie southeastern Minnesota. Large numbers of beetles from adjacent corn crops invaded the prairie in late summer. D. barberi and D. Virgifera were caught in sticky traps in all prairie localities but abundance was much higher near the border adjacent to maize crops. We observe that D. Barberi (but not D. virgifera) were extensively fed on sunflower pollen and occasionally on other parts of the flowers, such as petals. The sunflowers located near the corn fields presented greater floral damage than those removed from the maize. To determine the effect of beetle damage on seeds, we enclosed sunflower heads in bags containing zero, two or four D. Barberi adults. The seed sets were reduced in the enclosed heads with D. Barberi . Therefore, this agricultural pest may interfere with the successful reproduction of sunflowers and possibly other grassland elements that flourish towards the end of the summer. Given the small size of most remnants of the prairie and the abundance of these flower-eating beetles in landscapes dominated by maize cultivation, D. Barberi could affect the sustainability of prairie plant populations.

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  • Adam Floyd