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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Host Preference of the Plum Curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar Herbst (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

Authors
item Leskey, Tracy
item Wright, Starker

Submitted to: Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 16, 2007
Publication Date: June 15, 2007
Citation: Leskey, T.C., Wright, S.E. 2007. Host Preference of the Plum Curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar Herbst (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. Vol. 123: 217-227.

Interpretive Summary: The plum curculio is a serious pest of fruit orchards in eastern North America, feeding and depositing eggs in a number of hosts including apple, peach and plum. In order to identify the preferred cultivated host of plum curculio, we conducted an extensive mark-release-recapture study and monitored wild populations in an orchard that included the following host fruit trees of plum curcuio; apple, peach, European plum, Japanese plum, sweet cherry, tart cherry, apricot, and pear. We captured the greatest number of marked and wild adults in screen traps attached to Japanese plum. Similarly, we recovered the greatest number of adults dislodged from tree canopies from plum species, with overall numbers greater on Japanese plum. Based on a preference index, Japanese plum was the most highly preferred host fruit tree, followed by European plum, peach, sweet cherry, tart cherry, apricot, apple, and pear, respectively. We hypothesize that Japanese plum is the preferred host of plum curculio and that this host should be used as source material for identification of host plant-based attractants for this important pest species in order to develop an effective monitoring tools.

Technical Abstract: We assessed host preference of adult plum curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst) based on the total number of mark-released and wild adults recovered and the total distance moved by mark-released adults in an orchard whose layout was designed to specifically allow foraging plum curculios to choose among host tree species. Host trees included apple, Malus domestica Borkh; pear, Pyrus communis L.; peach, Prunus persica Batsch; apricot, P. armeniaca L.; sour cherry, P. cerasus L; sweet cherry, P. avium (L.); European plum, P. domestica L.; and Japanese plum, P. salicina Lindl. We released 2900 marked adults and recovered 17.7%. We used screen traps to provide a measure of the number of adults that arrived at and climbed up particular host trees and found that significantly greater numbers of marked adults and the greatest number of wild adults were recovered from screen traps attached to Japanese plum. We sampled host tree canopies by tapping limbs to provide a measure of the number of adults within a tree canopy at a particular moment. Again, significantly greater numbers of marked and wild adults were recovered from plum species, with no difference between Japanese and European plum cultivars for marked individuals, but with significantly greater numbers of wild individuals recovered from Japanese plum. The preference index (PI) for Japanese plum based on total distances moved by all mark-recovered adults indicates that Japanese plum was the most highly preferred host, followed by European plum, peach, sweet cherry, tart cherry, apricot, apple, and pear, respectively.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014