Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Boll Weevils: No Mistaking This Bug With New Insect ID Technique

Date:
October 5, 2009
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Misidentifying boll weevils caught in pheromone traps could be easier to avoid, thanks to a new DNA fingerprinting method.

ARS entomologist Tom Sappington has developed a test that can very precisely distinguish between boll weevil and look-alike species that should not trigger costly pesticide spraying.
Credit: Photo by Jack Dykinga

Misidentifying boll weevils caught in pheromone traps could be easier to avoid, thanks to a new DNA fingerprinting method devised by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their collaborators.

Boll weevils-long-snouted, 2/10-inch-long beetles that damage cotton's lint-producing bolls-are familiar foes to growers. Indeed, since first being discovered in southern Texas in 1892, the boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis, has caused billions of dollars in losses to U.S. cotton. An eradication program that began in 1978 has eliminated the pest from 87 percent of the 15 million acres of American cotton.

Trapping, aided by the use of chemical insect attractants called pheromones, is a key component of the program that can tell where, when, and to what degree boll weevils are present, including those re-invading zones previously cleared of the pest. Field scouts checking pheromone traps sometimes encounter other weevil species, or pieces of trapped weevils that have been partially eaten by insect predators like ants, raising the risk of misidentification. That, in turn, can lead to unnecessary and costly insecticide spraying, according to entomologist Tom Sappington, in the ARS Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research Unit at Ames, Iowa.

Capitalizing on findings from earlier population genetics studies of the boll weevil, Sappington and colleagues devised a method that uses microsatellite molecular markers to distinguish between the boll weevil and other related species, including pepper, cranberry and pecan weevils.

This characteristic DNA fingerprint, observed on a standard electrophoretic gel, appear as three separate bands, forming a unique barcode-like arrangement of DNA that's specific to boll weevils. These bands are of a specific size and are not shown by non-target weevil species. In tests, the method also identified boll weevils from partial remains, including legs and wings, and yielded results in two days.

Sappington coauthored a paper describing the method in the Journal of Economic Entomology, along with colleagues from Rutgers University in Chatsworth, N.J., Oklahoma State University at Stillwater and the Seoul National University in South Korea.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Boll Weevils: No Mistaking This Bug With New Insect ID Technique." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002103500.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2009, October 5). Boll Weevils: No Mistaking This Bug With New Insect ID Technique. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002103500.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Boll Weevils: No Mistaking This Bug With New Insect ID Technique." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091002103500.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) With plenty of honking, flapping, and fluttering, more than three dozen Caribbean flamingos at Zoo Miami were rounded up today as the iconic exhibit was closed for renovations. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins