Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)-resistant light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), created by selection of a laboratory colony with artificial diets containing the Bt endotoxin Cry1Ac, were used to explore relationships between larval behavior and resistance to toxins. Our hypothesis was that behavioral responses during the first days of exposure to diet are directly related to the toxicity of the diet, as measured by subsequent mortality. We tested two predictions from this hypothesis. The first prediction was that susceptible larvae and resistant larvae exhibit similar behavior on diet without toxins, settling at feeding sites within a few hours. The second prediction was that susceptible and resistant larvae differ in their behavior on Cry1Ac diet to the same degree that their mortality differs, i.e., on Cry1Ac diet, resistant larvae exhibit anorexia and walking to a lesser degree than susceptible larvae. Predictions were tested by making observations over 2 wk, with each larva held individually in a 10-cm-long cylindrical glass arena with two aliquots of diet. The two aliquots consisted of either the same diet (two no-choice treatments: control/control or Cry 1Ac/Cry1Ac) or different diets (one choice treatment: control/Cry 1Ac). The two predictions did not accurately describe larval behavior. On control diet, behavior differed, with resistant larvae settling more quickly than susceptible larvae. On Cry1Ac diet, behavior was more similar than expected. Thus, even though the Bt diet was much less toxic to resistant larvae, resistant larvae seemed to match the ability of susceptible larvae to reduce exposure to Bt diet while increasing exposure to nontoxic control diet.
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Vol. 99 • No. 2