The University of Arizona

Bluegrass billbug feeding response to perennial triticeae grasses.

D.C. Nielson, K.H. Asay, T.A. Jones


In a 4-year field study, 25 perennial triticeae grasses, representing a wide range of genomes and genome combinations, were evaluated as potential hosts for the bluegrass billbug (Sphenophorus parvulus Gyllenhal [Coleoptera: Curculionidae]). Root-sample data suggested that Russian wildrye (Psathyrostachys juncea [Fischer] Nevski) was unsuitable for billbug reproduction. Numbers of immatures varied significantly among remaining entries. Rhizomatous entries were more tolerant of billbug injury than caespitose entries. Plant mortality rates were frequently 50% or higher for self-pollinated caespitose entries with the SH genome complement (Elymus spp.). Losses to billbugs among the remaining species, particularly those with the J, N, and P genomes, were insignificant. Billbugs did not discriminate between native and introduced grasses, as resistant and susceptible entries were identified in both groups. The results obtained here may aid in selecting triticeae grasses for reseeding in areas where billbugs have damaged stands in the past.


Sphenophorus parvulus;host preferences;screening;Pascopyrum;Pseudoroegneria;crop damage;pest resistance;Elymus;Leymus;Psathyrostachys;Elytrigia;genome;Agropyron;genetic variation;perennials;mortality;species differences;Poaceae;rangelands;pasture plants;grasses;feeding preferences

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