Journal of economic entomology

Do phosphine resistance genes influence movement and dispersal under starvation?

PMID 24224272


Phosphine resistance alleles might be expected to negatively affect energy demanding activities such as walking and flying, because of the inverse relationship between phosphine resistance and respiration. We used an activity monitoring system to quantify walking of Rhyzopertha dominica (F.) and a flight chamber to estimate their propensity for flight initiation. No significant difference in the duration of walking was observed between the strongly resistant, weakly resistant, and susceptible strains of R. dominica we tested, and females walked significantly more than males regardless of genotype. The walking activity monitor revealed no pattern of movement across the day and no particular time of peak activity despite reports of peak activity of R. dominica and Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) under field conditions during dawn and dusk. Flight initiation was significantly higher for all strains at 28 degrees C and 55% relative humidity than at 25, 30, 32, and 35 degrees C in the first 24 h of placing beetles in the flight chamber. Food deprivation and genotype had no significant effect on flight initiation. Our results suggest that known resistance alleles in R. dominica do not affect insect mobility and should therefore not inhibit the dispersal of resistant insects in the field.