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Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner) -- Pyralidae





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This insect is believed to have been accidentally introduced in shipments of broom corn from Europe in the area of Boston, Massachusetts in 1917 (Caffrey & Worthley 1927).  Its range presently includes most of the major corn producing regions of the United States.  Between 1920-1930 24 species of parasitoids were imported into the United States from Europe and the Orient, and by 1962 six of these were established.  Two of the introduced parasitoids, the tachinid Lydella thompsoni (Herting) and the ichneumonid Eriborus terebrons (Gravenhorst), usually parasitizes up to 50 percent of the borers in the Midwest during 1958-1963.  However, in the 1960's parasitism by the tachinid decreased rapidly and few, if any , can now be found in the United States (Hill et al. 1978, Burbutis et al. 1981).  


Explanations to explain the decline of the tachinid center around competition from the microsporidian Nosema pyrausta.  Presently the only parasitoid commonly found in the Midwest is the braconid Macrocentrus grandii (Goidanich), which is infected by N. pyrausta and high levels of mortality result (Andreadis 1980, 1982; Siegel et al. 1986).  In Illinois in 1982 and 1983,  M. grandii parasitized an average of 19.5% of first generation corn borer larvae, but only an average of 5% of second generation larvae .  This is believed due to the fact that first generation borer populations usually have a lower prevalence of Nosema than second generation populations, and thus the parasitoid may avoid the disease by parasitizing primarily first generation larvae (Kogan et al. 1999).


Paillot (1927) first described N. pyrausta from European corn borers collected in France, and the pathogen was first found by Steinhaus (1951) in the United States in larval European corn borers from the Midwest.  It now infects corn borers throughout most of their range, and a high prevalence (up to 100%) have been reported from many states (Hill & Gary 1979, Andreadis 1984, Siegel et al. 1987, Kogan et al. 1999).  This microsporidian infects most body tissues, and infectious spores are passed in the feces of infected larvae.  Horizontal transmission occurs when healthy larvae ingest sufficient numbers of spores, usually in larval tunnels contaminated by frass from infected larvae.  Although some disease-induced mortality occurs when larvae are infected by oral ingestion of spores, the most dramatic mortality occurs when transmission is transovarial (Windels et al. 1976).  Such larvae experience 30-80 percent higher mortality than healthy larvae (Kramer 1959, Windels et al. 1976, Siegel et al. 1987).  Crashes usually occur after several years of rising corn borer populations and when the prevalence of Nosema nears 100 percent.  Because horizontal transmission of infection in corn borer populations depends on the probability of healthy larvae inhabiting a corn stalk with infected larvae, the initial infection level of transovarially (vertical infection) infected larvae and the larval population density are two of the most important variables affecting infection levels in corn borer populations (Maddox 1987). 


Although in many areas of the United States N. pyrausta is the most important biological mortality factor in corn borer populations, it has little promise as a microbial insecticide because it is already widely distributed.  During some years the fungus Beauveria bassiana causes considerable larval mortality in central Iowa and west central Illinois (Kogan et al. 1999).


For historical review and details on biologies of host and natural enemies, please see the following (Ellinger & Sachtleben 1928, Zwölfer 1948, Jones 1929, Parker et al. 1929, Thompson 1929, Goidanich 1931, Parker 1931, Cartwright 1933, Parker & Smith 1933, Smith 1932, Vance 1932, Clark 1934, Baker & Bradley 1940, Wishart 1943, 1944, 1947; Arbuthnot 1944, 1950; Arbuthnot et al. 1949, Swezey 1946, Baker et al. 1949, Blikenstaff et al. 1953, Peterson 1955, Baker 1958, Rolston et al. 1958, Jarvis & York 1961, McLeod 1962, Franklin & Holdaway 1966).



REFERENCES:          [Additional references may be found at:   MELVYL Library ]


Andreadis, T. G.  1980.  Nosema pyrausta infection in Macrocentrus grandii, a braconid parasite of the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis.  J. Invertebr. Path. 35:  229-33.


Andreadis, T. G.  1982.  Impact of Nosema pyrausta on field populations of Macrocentrus grandii, an introduced parasite of the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis.  J. Invertebr. Path. 39:  298-302.


Andreadis, T. G.  1984.  Epizootiology of Nosema pyrausta in field populations of the European corn borer (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae).  Environ. Ent. 13:  882-87.


Arbuthnot, K. D.  1944.  Strains of the European corn borer in the United States.  U. S. Dept. Agric. TEch. Bull. 869.  20 p.


Arbuthnot, K. D.  1950.  Status of European corn borer parasites in the United States.  J. Econ. Ent. 43:  422-26.


Arbuthnot, K. D., D. W. Jones, S. W. Carter & R. W. Evans.  1949.  The field status of parasites of the European corn borer at the close of 1948.  U. S. Dept. Agric., Bur. Ent. & Plant Quar., Insect Pest Survey, Spec. Supp. 7.  25 p.


Baker, W. A.  1958.  Parasites of the European corn borer in the United States.  10th Internatl. Congr. Ent. Proc., Montreal, Canada (1956) 4:  478-592.


Baker, W. A. & W. G. Bradley.  1940.  The colonization of imported parasites of the European corn borer in the United States.  6th Pacific Sci. Cong. Proc. (1939) 4:  325-33.


Baker, W. A., W. G. Bradley & C. A. Clark.  1949.  Biological control of the European corn borer in the United States.  U. S. Dept. Agric. Tech. Bull. 983.  185 p.


Blinkenstaff, C. C., K. D. Arbuthnot & H. M. Harris.  1953.  Parasites of the European corn borer in Iowa.  Iowa State Col. J. Sci. 27:  335-79.


Burbutis, P. P., N. Erwin & L. R. Ertle.  1981.  Reintroduction and establishment of Lydella thompsoni and notes on other parasites of the European corn borer in Delaware.  Environ. Ent. 10:  779-81.


Caffrey, D. J. & L. H. Worthley.  1927.  A progress report on the investigations of the European corn borer.  USDA Bull. No. 1476.


Cartwright, W. B.  1933.  Observations on the European corn borer and its major parasites in teh Orient.  U. S. Dept. Agric. Cir. 289.  13 p.


Clark, C. A.  1934.  The European corn borer and its controlling factors in the Orient.  U. S. Dept. Agric. Tech. Bull. 455.  37 p.


Ellinger, T. & H. Sachtleben.  1928.  Notes on the central European parasites of Pyrausta nubilalis Hb.  Internatl. Corn Borer Invest. Sci. Rept. 1927-28:  109-34.


Franklin, R. T. & F. G. Holdaway.  1966.  A relationship of the plant to parasitism of European corn borer by the tachinid parasite Lydella grisescens.  J. Econ. Ent. 59:  440-41.


Goidanich, A.  1931.  Gli insetti predatori e parassiti della Pyrausta nubilalis Hübn.  Bol. Lab. Ent. (Bologna) 4:  77-218.


Hill, R. E. & W. J. Gary.  1979.  Effects of the microsporidium Nosema pyrausta on field populations of European corn borers in Nebraska.  Environ. Ent. 8:  92-95.


Hill, R. E., D. P. Carpino & Z. B. Mayo.  1978.  Insect parasites of the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis in Nebraska from 1958-1976.  Environ. Ent. 7:  249-53.

Jarvis, J. L. & G. T. York.  1961.  Population fluctuations of Lydella grisescens, a parasite of the European corn borer.  J. Econ. Ent. 54:  213-14.


Jones, D. W.  1929.  Imported parasites of the European corn borer in America.  U. S. Dept. Agric. TEch. Bull. 98.  27 p.


Kogan, M., D. Gerling & J. V. Maddox.  1999. Enhancement of Biological Control in Transient Agricultural Environments.  In:  Bellows, T. S. & T. W. Fisher (eds.), Handbook of Biological Control:  Principles and Applications.  Academic Press, San Diego, New York.  1046 p


Kramer, J. P.  1959.  Some relationships between Perezia pyraustae Paillot (Sporozoa: Nosematidae) and Pyrausta nubilalis (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae).  J. Insect Pathol. 1:  25-33.


Maddox, J. V.  1987.  Protozoan Diseases, p. 417-52.  In:  J. R. Fuxa & Y. Tanada (eds.), Epizootiology of Insect Diseases.  John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.  555 p.


McLeod, J. H.  1962.  A review of the biological control attempts against insects and weeds in Canada.  Part I.  Biological control of pests of crops, fruit trees, ornamentals and weeds in Canada up to 1959.  Commonwealth Inst. Biol. Control, Tech. Commun. 2:  1-33.


Paillot, A.  1927.  Sur deux protozaires nouveaux parasites des chenilles de Pyrausta nubilalis Hb.  C. R. Acad. Sci. 185:  673-75.


Parker, H. L.  1931.  Macrocentrus gifuensis Ashmead, a polyembryonic braconid parasite in the European corn borer.  U. S. Dept. Agric. Tech. Bull. 230.  62 p.


Parker, H. L. & H. D. Smith.  1933.  Eulophus viridulus Thoms., a parasite of Pyrausta nubilalis Hübn.  Ann. Ent. Soc. Amer. 26:  21-37.


Parker, H. L., A. M. Vance, H. D. Smith & W. Gamkrelidge.  1929.  Pyrausta nubilalis Hübn. in Europe:  notes on infestation and parasitism from 1926 to 1928.  J. Econ. Ent. 22:  688-93.


Peterson, G. D., Jr.  1955.  Biological control of the European corn borer on Guam.  J. Econ. Ent. 48:  683-85.


Rolston, L. H., C. R. Neiswander, K. D. Arbuthnot & G. T. York.  19548.  Parasites of the European corn borer in Ohio.  Ohio Agric. Expt. Sta. Bull. 819.  36 p.


Siegel, J. P., J. V. Maddox & W. G. Ruesink.  1986.  The impact of Nosema pyrausta on a braconid Macrocentrus grandii in central Illinois.  J. Invertebr. Path. 47:  271-76.


Siegel, J. P., J. V. Maddox & W. G. Ruesink.  1987.  Survivorship of the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in central Illinois.  Environ. Ent. 16:  1071-75.


Smith, H. D.  1932.  Phaeogenes nigridens Wesmael, an important ichneumonid parasite of the pupa of the European corn borer.  U. S. Dept. Agric. Tech. Bull. 331.  45 p.


Steinhaus, E. A.  1951.  Report on diagnoses of diseased insects, 1944-50.  Hilgardia 20:  629-678.


Swezey, O. H.  1946.  Insects of Guam.  II.  Lepidoptera: Geometridae, Arctiidae, Agrotidae and Pyralidae of Guam.  Bernice P. Bixhop Mus. Bull. 189:  185.


Thompson, W. R.  1929.  The natural control of Pyrausta nubilalis Hb. in Europe.  Cong. Ent. Zool. (1927) 10:  1183-95.


Vance, A. M.  1932.  The biology and morphology of the braconid Chelonus annulipes Wesm., a parasite of the European corn borer.  U. S. Dept. Agric. Tech. Bull. 294.  48 p.


Windels, M. B., H. C. Chiang & B. Furgaia.  1976.  Effects of Nosema pyrausta on pupal and adult stages of the European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis.  J. Invertebr. Path. 27:  239-42.


Wishart, G.  1943.  Important developments in the corn borer parasite situation.  Ent. Soc. Ontario 73rd Ann. Rept. 1942:  26-30.


Wishart, G.  1944.  An increase in the multiple generation of the European corn borer in Ontario and its relation to parasite establishment.  Ent. Soc. Ontario 74th Ann. Rept. 1943:  11-13.


Wishart, G.  1947.  Further observations on the changes taking place in the corn borer population in western Ontario.  Canad. Ent. 79:  81-3.


Zwölfer, W.  1928.  Corn borer controlling factors and measures in southern GErmany.  Internatl. Corn Borer Invest., Sci. Rept. 1927-28:  135-42.