Effects of the Low-Level Western Corn Rootworm Egg Infestation on Maize Plants in the Field


From the economic perspective, the western corn rootworm (WCR), Diabrotica virgifera sp. virgifera (Col., Chrysomelidae), poses the gravest threat to the field maize production in Serbia. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of WCR larvae on the morphology of maize characters during a low-level artificial egg infestation. A field experiment involving the Serbian cultivar ‘NS-640’ was carried out in Bečej, Vojvodina Serbia, in 2016. In the experimental field, a total of 96 maize plants were selected, marked and arranged in 48 pairs. Each pair consisted of an infested plant (WCR eggs injected in the root zone) and an uninfested plant (distillate water injected in the root zone). The number of leaves, height and stem diameter of the plants observed were recorded. Root damage and root weight were measured and evaluated at the end of the trail. For the purpose of statistical analysis, the non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance and a correlation matrix were used. The statistical analysis performed indicate a highly significant difference in the number of leaves and plant height between the infested and uninfested maize plants examined in July (the third field observation). During the last field inspection, significant differences were recorded only between the stem diameters of the infested and uninfested maize plants. A negative correlation was found to exist between the root damage and root weight of the plant pairs. There were positive correlations between the stem diameter, plant height and number of leaves of the infested plants, whereas positive correlations were found between the root damage and plant height of the uninfested plants.

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