Laboratory-reared southern and field-collected northern strains of plum curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst), were sampled to examine the relationship between degree-day (DD) accumulation and female reproductive development, as measured by mating status, oocyte size, and number of oocytes. The overall goal was to generate an objective degree-day model for predicting damage potential that could be applied to various host commodities rather than relying on separate biofix models for each crop. Adult beetles were dissected to measure mating status, maximum oocyte size, and number of oocytes. Southern strain beetles reared at 25°C initiated mating 9 d after eclosion and did not require mating to induce oocyte development. By 20 d posteclosion, unmated females had significantly higher egg loads compared with mated females of the same age. Logistic regression analysis suggests that southern and northern strain beetles had a stable maximum oocyte length of 62 and 72 μm, respectively. Northern strain females mated after overwintering; with ≈95% of the female population mated after 134 DD (base 10°C), which is before fruit set in many host crops. Oocyte size was the only measured parameter of field reproductive progress that could be linked with confidence to degree-day accumulation. The other two parameters do not share an exclusive relationship with degree-days. Rapid assessment of field-caught female reproductive status could assist in determining the potential for plum curculio damage in high-value commodities and allow for more informed control decisions.
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Vol. 97 • No. 1