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  • 1 Szent István University Plant Protection Institute Gödöllő Hungary
  • 2 Agro-mester Kft. Szekszárd Hungary
  • 3 CABI Delémont Switzerland
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Dispersal plays a key role in the adaptation of species. It has been suggested that even in a stable and predictable environment, it is essential for any given population to “send” a certain portion of its offspring to disperse (referred as evolutionary stable dispersal rate). Although the literature on the flight behaviour of one of the major maize pests, the western corn rootworm, is rich, relatively little is known about its inter-field movements under field conditions. In the present study, inter-field movement of adult beetles was observed in Central-Europe under quasi-isolated conditions of infested continuous and un-infested first year maize fields, and related to candidate predictor variables. Percent of immigrants (net percent of adults within a given population leaving their natal maize field and arriving in first-year maize) varied greatly across years and locations (0.4–93.3%, mean = 38.7%). Results of the study provided field evidence of the assumption that western corn rootworm performs density dependent inter-field movement. Independent from pest densities, it appeared that about 1/3 of an adult beetle population always leaves its natal maize field, which likely allows the species to find new food sources and oviposition sites. The distance between maize fields and the phenological status of maize influenced inter-field movements but at a much less extent than it could have been expected from laboratory research findings.

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