Wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae) are major economic pests of Florida sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrid). The corn wireworm, Melanotus communis (Gyllenhal), is the most important wireworm pest of Florida sugarcane occurring in both sandy and muck soils. The objective of this study was to determine survivability, preference, and dispersal of wireworms in sandy and muck soils. There was no significant difference in starved wireworm survival between the soils after 2 mo. However, the starved wireworms gained more weight in muck soil than in sand. Wireworms dispersed at similar rates toward oat baits in both soil types. Interestingly, in free choice tests wireworms showed a high preference to reside in muck versus sandy soil, which corresponds to the greater wireworm weight change found in muck versus sandy soil. The high preference for muck and greater weight gain in muck found in this study partially explains why M. communis is more abundant in muck soils than in sandy soils in Florida sugarcane.
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