The influence of plant age on tolerance of rice to injury by the rice water weevil, Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

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Conference Proceeding

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For most plant species, tolerance to many types of herbivory increases as plants age, but the applicability of this pattern to root herbivory has not been tested. Injury to roots of rice plants by larvae of the rice water weevil, Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus Kuschel, causes severe reductions in yields in the United States. It is generally thought that young rice plants, because their root systems are smaller, are less tolerant than older plants of root feeding by L. oryzophilus. Field experiments were conducted to test this hypothesis. Plots of rice (4.7 to 6.5 m2) were established and subjected to natural infestations of L. oryzophilus larvae. A soil insecticide was applied to plots at different times during the tillering phase of rice in order to manipulate the timing of weevil infestation. The impact of these treatments (timings of insecticide applications) was assessed by comparing relationships between yield loss and larval pressure for each treatment using analysis of covariance. Yield losses ranged from 13% to over 40% in plots not treated with insecticide. Patterns of yield losses from plots treated with insecticide at different times were best explained by the hypothesis that yield loss is determined both by the age of plants infested and by the size of larvae infesting plants. Young plants appear to be less tolerant than older plants, and feeding by large larvae appears to be more deleterious than feeding by smaller larvae. Management practices that delay infestation of rice by L. oryzophilus until plants are older may be an important component of management programmes for this pest.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Bulletin of Entomological Research

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