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Enumerating lepidopteran species associated with maize as a first step in risk assessment in the USA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 January 2004

John E. Losey
Affiliation:
Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Ruth A. Hufbauer
Affiliation:
Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
Robert G. Hartzler
Affiliation:
Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, IA 50011, USA

Abstract

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Pest management can have substantial impacts on non-target species both within and outside the units being managed. Assessment of these impacts is hampered by the lack of even the most basic checklist of the species present in most systems. The maize agroecosytem is of particular interest because of the large area covered and the intensity of widely varying forms of pest management. In this study a database of lepidopteran species that occur within the maize agroecosystem in the United States was compiled. The process was initiated by developing a list of plants present in maize using published sources and the first-hand knowledge of “weed” experts. This list of plant species associated with maize was then cross-listed with lepidopteran host feeding records using published sources. Finally, phenological profiles and conservation rankings were added. Although our list is not exhaustive, we found 132 plant species in 33 families associated with maize, and 229 lepidopteran species in 21 families that feed on these plants. The database of plants and lepidopteran species can be a starting point for assessment of risk to non-target Lepidoptera in maize from chemical control, biological control, and the use of transgenic Bt maize. The lepidopteran species associated with maize were found to be significantly less imperiled, as measured by their conservation rankings, than lepidopteran species as a whole in all habitats. This finding suggests that rare or endangered lepidopteran species are unlikely to be impacted by pest management in maize. Based on the likely lack of impact of pest management in maize on individual species, future studies should focus on potential impacts on the ecological services that lepidopteran species provide.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© ISBR, EDP Sciences, 2003

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