Pyrethroid resistance in the redlegged earth mite, Halotydeus destructor (Tucker), is primarily attributed to a kdr (knockdown resistance) mutation in the parasodium channel gene. To assess fitness costs associated with this resistance, adult resistant and susceptible populations were mixed in different proportions in microcosm tubs and placed in a shade-house simulating field conditions. Three separate experiments were undertaken whereby parental mites were collected from the field and offspring were followed for two to three generations. The association between fitness costs and kdr-mediated resistance was investigated by examining differences in mite numbers and changes in resistant allele frequencies across generations. In two (of the three) experiments, the population fitness measure of mites was significantly lower in microcosms containing a higher proportion of resistant individuals compared with treatments containing susceptible mites. No differences in mite fitness were observed between treatments in the third experiment; in this instance, the starting proportion of individuals homozygous for the resistant mutation was much lower (∼40%) than in the other experiments (>90%). In all three experiments, a decrease in the resistant allele frequency across mite generations was observed. These findings indicate a potential deleterious pleiotropic effect of the kdr mutation on the fitness of H. destructor and have implications for resistance management strategies aimed at this important agricultural pest. Further experiments investigating fitness costs directly in the field are warranted.
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Vol. 114 • No. 3