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1 December 2005 Influence of Plant Host Quality on Fitness and Sex Ratio of the Wheat Stem Sawfly (Hymenoptera: Cephidae)
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A resurgence of the wheat stem sawfly, historically the most important pest of wheat in the northern Great Plains, has been observed in western Canada over the past decade. Host plant resistance in the form of solid-stemmed cultivars remains the primary management strategy for this pest. The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of wheat cultivar on wheat stem sawfly fitness and sex ratio. The cultivars studied varied with respect to stem diameter and pith expression and included representatives of the red seed, solid-stemmed spring and red seed, hollow-stemmed common and durum wheat classes. We present results from a primary study conducted in southern Alberta from 2001 to 2003 and a similar smaller study conducted in 1987 and 1991. All of the solid-stemmed cultivars (AC Eatonia, AC Abbey, Lancer, Leader) reduced female weights, size, fecundity, and in some cases, larval survivorship in the cut stubs and delayed date of adult emergence in the laboratory. Males were less responsive to this aspect of host quality. The hollow-stemmed durum cultivar AC Navigator had similar negative effects and deserves further study. A number of other hollow-stemmed wheats (McKenzie, AC Intrepid, Katepwa, and the durum AC Avonlea) had intermediate but inconsistent negative effects on sawfly fitness. The varieties that maximized sawfly fitness were AC Cadillac, CDC Teal, and Kyle (durum). Sawfly sex ratios were affected by stub diameter in our current and historical cultivar studies. Larger diameter stubs produced significantly more females and smaller diameter stubs produced more males. Furthermore, stubs that failed to produce adults had significantly smaller diameters than those that produced females but similar to those that produced males. The effect of the solid stem trait on sex ratio was inconsistent. Only Lancer had a male-biased sex ratio, whereas the other varieties had no consistent pattern. These results, however, are similar to other published reports that have noted inconsistent effects of the solid trait on sex ratio. Planting a solid-stemmed cultivar in a rotation that includes broad-leaved crops is recommended to reduce sawfly damage and future populations.

H. A. Cárcamo, B. L. Beres, F. Clarke, R. J. Byers, H-h Mündel, K. May, and R. Depauw "Influence of Plant Host Quality on Fitness and Sex Ratio of the Wheat Stem Sawfly (Hymenoptera: Cephidae)," Environmental Entomology 34(6), 1579-1592, (1 December 2005).
Received: 29 April 2005; Accepted: 1 July 2005; Published: 1 December 2005

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