Occurrence and Field Densities of Beetles in the Maize Herb Layer

Beetles, belonging to Order Coleoptera, are economically important in agricultural systems. Thus, it is essential to include this group of insects as non-target organisms in the Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) of genetically modified Bt crop varieties with insect resistance gene. Stefan Rauschen of RWRH Aachen University, Germany, and colleagues, analyzed the impact of two Bt maize varieties (MON810 and MON88017) on the occurrence and field densities of ladybirds (Family Coccinellidae) and leaf beetles (Family Chrysomelidae), using the data gathered in the six years of field experiments.

Generally, there were few beetles found in the herb layer of the field during growing seasons, but ladybirds and leaf beetles were among the most abundant. Based on their ecological roles, ERA of Bt plants should focus on ladybirds. However, it is recommended to observe these beetles in laboratory conditions to lessen the effects of other variables in the field. On the other hand, leaf beetles are not as important as ladybirds in the ERA because they only serve as secondary pests.

Tha abstract of this study is available at http://www.springerlink.com/content/g4v06t72181w7t48/.


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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