Cues that elicit a characteristic localized search behavior by neonate larvae of the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), were extracted from living corn, Zea mays L., roots with acetone. Larvae were exposed to corn roots or to an acetone extract of corn roots and then transferred into a bioassay arena where their movements were tracked and recorded. After a 5-min exposure to live corn roots, larvae produced highly convoluted tracks that were indicative of a localized search behavior, and these distinctive tracks were also produced by larvae exposed to an acetone extract of corn roots. Larvae exposed to a filter paper control moved in relatively straight paths that were indicative of ranging behavior. Larval tracks were recorded by means of a videocamera and tracking software, and four parameters of movement were used to quantify the tracks: mean turn angle, mean meander, total distance, and maximum distance from origin. For every parameter measured, tracks resulting from exposure to the control were significantly different from tracks resulting from exposure to live corn roots and to all doses of the corn root extract. In a separate experiment, larvae exposed to corn root pieces or corn root juice exhibited the localized search behavior, but larvae exposed to oat root pieces and oat root juice (nonhost) exhibited ranging behavior.
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Vol. 102 • No. 2