Flight and crawling activities of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in relation to morphometric traits


Stefan Toepfer (corresponding author), CABI Europe, Rue des Grillons 1, 2800 Delemont, Switzerland. E-mail: s.toepfer@cabi.org


Morphometric traits and body weight are often used to study changes in fitness. For the invasive alien maize pest, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, little information is available regarding the possible relationship between morphometric traits and adult activity, which reflects the ability to disperse and invade. Flight and crawling activities of D. v. virgifera adults were investigated in relation to six different morphometric traits as well as body weight, sex and age. This laboratory study revealed that flight activity of D. v. virgifera differed between sexes and changed with age. Young adults of both sexes flew more frequently and took off faster than mature adults. Males flew more frequently and took off faster than females, regardless of age-class. No such differences were found for crawling frequency, but young males crawled faster than young females. Further analysis revealed that fresh body weight and morphometric traits of young adults were better predictors of flight and crawling activity than the same measurements made on mature adults. Particularly pronotum and elytra measurements on young adults are recommended for bioassay studies on activity parameters of D. v. virgifera.