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Sustainable management of the cereal leaf beetle, Oulema melanopus (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), a new invasive insect pest of cereal crops in western Canada Open Access


Other title
sustainable management
Cereal leaf beetle
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kher, Swaroop V
Supervisor and department
Dosdall, Lloyd (Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science)
Carcamo, Hector (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge)
Examining committee member and department
Evans, Edward (Biology, Utah State University, U.S.A.)
Keddie, Andrew (Biological Science)
Evenden, Maya (Biological Science)
Department of Agricultural, Food, and Nutritional Science
Plant Science
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The cereal leaf beetle, Oulema melanopus (L.) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) is a new invasive insect pest of cereals in western Canada, and has expanded its geographic range significantly throughout the region. Its establishment has economic implications for grain production, trade and export. Biological control with its principal larval parasitoid, Tetrastichus julis (Walker) (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), introduced from Europe has been the most successful management strategy in North America. In southern Alberta, the parasitoid has established naturally along with the beetle and provides an opportunity for integration of biological control with other management tactics. My investigation focused on tritrophic interactions between the cereal host plants, O. melanopus and T. julis. I investigated life histories and host preferences of O. melanopus and T. julis, their spatio-temporal distribution dynamics, and explored host-plant resistance mechanisms in exotic wheat genotypes to discern interrelations between these species. My studies on developmental patterns of O. melanopus on potential cereal hosts in western Canada (oat, wheat, barley, corn, rye and triticale) indicated that the preferences for these hosts and their utilization differed within the fundamental host range of O. melanopus. Prolonged developmental times and low survivorship on a local cultivar of oat, Waldern, indicated a potential avenue for designing strategies such as trap cropping. My studies on the biology of T. julis indicated that T. julis females prefer advanced larval instars for parasitization; such a selection lead to higher clutch size, and improved fitness. Under field conditions, the relationship of O. melanopus and T. julis indicated a tightly coupled host-natural enemy system. Tetrastichus julis exhibited strong density dependence. Host plant characteristics influenced field dynamics of O. melanopus which in turn influenced T. julis distribution. Three of the six central Asian wheat genotypes tested (NN-100, NN-78 and NN-27) were less attractive for O. melanopus oviposition and feeding and further trials on biology and fitness of the beetle suggested prolonged development and low fitness on these genotypes. This indicated presence of both antixenosis and antibiosis mechanisms. The resistant lines identified can act as effective genotypes for breeding explorations in North America.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Kher, S. V., L. M. Dosdall, and H. A. Cárcamo. 2011. The cereal leaf beetle: biology, distribution and prospects for control. Prairie Soils and Crops 4: 32-41.Kher, S. V., L. M. Dosdall, H. A. Cárcamo, and M. El-Bouhssini (In Press). Antixenosis resistance to cereal leaf beetle, Oulema melanopus (L.) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), in exotic wheat germplasm. Journal of Economic Entomology.Kher, S. V., L. M. Dosdall, H. A. Cárcamo, and M. El-Bouhssini. 2013. Antibiosis resistance to cereal leaf beetle, Oulema melanopus (L.) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), in central Asian wheat germplasm. Journal of Applied Entomology. 137: 751-760 (doi:10.1111/jen.12074)

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