Booth E, Alyokhin A, Pinatti S.  Insect Science. 2017;24(2):295-302. doi: 10.1111/1744-7917.12286.

Cannibalism, or intraspecific predation, can play a major role in changing individual fitness and population processes. In insects, cannibalism frequently occurs across life stages, with cannibals consuming a smaller or more vulnerable stage. Predation of adult insects on one another is considered to be uncommon. We investigated adult cannibalism in the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), which is an oligophagous herbivore specializing on plants in family Solanaceae, and an important agricultural pest. Under laboratory conditions, starvation and crowding encouraged teneral adults to feed upon each other, which reduced their weight loss during the period of starvation. However, pupae were attacked and consumed before adults. Injured beetles had a higher probability of being cannibalized than intact beetles. Males were more frequently attacked than females, but that appeared to be a function of their smaller size rather than other gender-specific traits. Cannibalizing eggs at a larval stage did not affect beetle propensity to cannibalize adults at an adult stage. When given a choice between conspecific adults and mealworms, the beetles preferred to eat conspecifics. Cannibalistic behavior, including adult cannibalism, could be important for population persistence in this species.

Tryjanowski P, Sparks TH, Blecharczyk A, Małecka-Jankowiak I, Switek S, Sawinska Z. American Journal of Potato Research. 2018;95(1):26-32. doi: 10.1007/s12230-017-9611-3.

Potato Solanum tuberosum is one of the world's four most important crops. Its cultivation is steadily increasing in response to the need to feed a growing world population. The yield of potato is influenced inter alia by both climate and pests. The main defoliator pest of potato is Colorado potato beetle Leptinotarsa decemlineata. Using data from a long-term experiment (1958-2013) in western Poland, we show that increasing temperature has affected the trophic relationship between potato and Colorado potato beetle. The planting, leafing, flowering and harvest dates for potato were advanced, after controlling for different cultivars, by 2.00 days, 3.04 days, 3.80 days and 3.42 days respectively for every 1°C increase in temperature. In contrast, first treatment against Colorado potato beetle advanced by 4.66 days for every 1°C increase in temperature, and, furthermore, the number of treatments against the beetle increased by 0.204 per 1°C increase in temperature. This suggests that the beetle responds faster to increasing temperature than the plant does, but both parts of the system are probably greatly modified by farming practices.

Yoon J, Mogilicherla K, Gurusamy D, Chen X, Chereddy, S. C. R. R., Palli SR.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018;115(33):8334-8339. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1809381115.

RNA interference (RNAi) is being used to develop methods to control pests and disease vectors. RNAi is robust and systemic in coleopteran insects but is quite variable in other insects. The determinants of efficient RNAi in coleopterans, as well as its potential mechanisms of resistance, are not known. RNAi screen identified a double-stranded RNA binding protein (StaufenC) as a major player in RNAi. StaufenC homologs have been identified in only coleopteran insects. Experiments in two coleopteran insects, Leptinotarsa decemlineata and Tribolium castaneum, showed the requirement of StaufenC for RNAi, especially for processing of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) to small interfering RNA. RNAi-resistant cells were selected by exposing L. decemlineata, Lepd-SL1 cells to the inhibitor of apoptosis 1 dsRNA for multiple generations. The resistant cells showed lower levels of StaufenC expression compared with its expression in susceptible cells. These studies showed that coleopteran-specific StaufenC is required for RNAi and is a potential target for RNAi resistance. The data included in this article will help improve RNAi in noncoleopteran insects and manage RNAi resistance in coleopteran insects.

Bozov PI, Georgieva YP. Natural Product Communications. 2017;12(3):327-328.

Fourteen neo-clerodane diterpenoids isolated from Scutellaria altissima (Lamiaceae) were tested for insect antifeedant activity against Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say. Potato leaf disks treated with small amounts of the compounds (concentration 1000, 100, 10 ppm) resulted in good to very good antifeedant activity. Clerodin (1), scutecyprin (11) and 11-epi-scutecolumnin C (12) showed strong feeding inhibition at 1000 ppm and exhibited significant antifeedant activity at a concentration of 100 ppm. Activity was established by calculating the feeding ratio (FR) between the consumed areas of treated disks (CTD) and control disks (CCD). For comparison, FR50 values were determined as the FR at a CCD of 50%. Structural features of the compounds associated with the changes in activity and structure-antifeedant activity relationships are discussed. For the first time the anti-feedant activity has been evaluated of neo-clerodane diterpenoids with an unusual R-configuration of the carbon atom C-11.

Hunt ER, J., Rondon SI.  Journal of Applied Remote Sensing. 2017;11(2):026013.

Colorado potato beetle (CPB) adults and larvae devour leaves of potato and other solanaceous crops and weeds, and may quickly develop resistance to pesticides. With early detection of CPB damage, more options are available for precision integrated pest management, which reduces the amount of pesticides applied in a field. Remote sensing with small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) has potential for CPB detection because low flight altitudes allow image acquisition at very high spatial resolution. A five-band multispectral sensor and up-looking incident light sensor were mounted on a six-rotor sUAS, which was flown at altitudes of 60 and 30 m in June 2014. Plants went from visibly undamaged to having some damage in just 1 day. Whole-plot normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the number of pixels classified as damaged (0.70 ≤ NDVI ≤0.80) were not correlated with visible CPB damage ranked from least to most. Area of CPB damage estimated using object-based image analysis was highly correlated to the visual ranking of damage. Furthermore, plant height calculated using structure-from-motion point clouds was related to CPB damage, but this method required extensive operator intervention for success. Object-based image analysis has potential for early detection based on high spatial resolution sUAS remote sensing.

Crossley MS, Pélissié B, Cohen Z, Schoville SD. Great Lakes Entomol. 2017;50(3):93-97.

Egg, larval, and adult life stages of Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), were observed feeding on or attached to a previously undocumented host plant belonging to the genus Chamaesaracha in eastern Colorado on July 2017. At one site, L. decemlineata were more abundant on Chamaesaracha sp. than the accepted ancestral host plant, Solanum rostratum (Dunal). While future studies should confirm the ancestral status of the observed L. decemlineata and suitability of Chamaesaracha sp. for completion of development, our observations suggest a need for further characterization of the ancestral host range of L. decemlineata.

Tigreros, N., Norris, R. H., Wang, E. H. and Thaler, J. S. (2017) Ecol Lett. doi:10.1111/ele.12752

Theory on condition-dependent risk-taking indicates that when prey are in poor condition, their anti-predator responses should be weak. However, variation in responses resulting from differences in condition is generally considered an incidental by-product of organisms living in a heterogeneous environment. Using Leptinotarsa decemlineata beetles and stinkbug (Podisus maculiventris) predators, we hypothesised that in response to predation risk, parents improve larval nutritional condition and expression of anti-predator responses by promoting intraclutch cannibalism. We showed that mothers experiencing predation risk increase production of unviable trophic eggs, which assures provisioning of an egg meal to the newly hatched offspring. Next, we experimentally demonstrated that egg cannibalism reduces L. decemlineata vulnerability to predation by improving larval nutritional condition and expression of anti-predator responses. Intraclutch cannibalism in herbivorous insects might be a ubiquitous strategy, aimed to overcome the dual challenge of feeding on protein-limited diets while living under constant predation threat.

Rasoolizadeh, A. M.-C. Goulet, J.-F. Guay, C. Cloutier, D. Michaud. Journal of Insect Physiology, Online First.

Herbivorous insects use complex protease complements to process plant proteins, useful to adjust their digestive functions to the plant diet and to elude the antidigestive effects of dietary protease inhibitors. We here assessed whether basic profiles and diet-related adjustments of the midgut protease complement may vary among populations of the insect herbivore Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata). Two laboratory colonies of this insect were used as models, derived from insect samples collected in potato fields ∼1200 km distant from each other in North America. Synchronized 4th-instar larvae reared on potato were kept on this plant, or switched to tomato or eggplant, to compare their midgut cathepsin activities and content of intestain Cys proteases under different diet regimes. Cathepsin D activity, cathepsin L activity, cathepsin B activity and total intestain content shortly after larval molting on potato leaves were about two times lower in one population compared to the other. By comparison, cathepsin D activity, cathepsin B activity, total intestain content and relative abundance of the most prominent intestain families were similar in the two populations after three days regardless of the plant diet, unlike cathepsin L activity and less prominent intestain families showing population-associated variability. Variation in Cys protease profiles translated into the differential efficiency of a Cys protease inhibitor, tomato cystatin SlCYS8, to inhibit cathepsin L activity in midgut extracts of the two insect groups. Despite quantitative differences, SlCYS8 single variants engineered to strongly inhibit Cys proteases showed improved potency against cathepsin L activity of either population. These data suggest the feasibility of designing cystatins to control L. decemlineata that are effective against different populations of this insect. They underline, on the other hand, the practical relevance of considering natural variability of the protease complement among L. decemlineata target populations, eventually determinant in the success or failure of cystatin-based control strategies on a large-scale basis.

Kitaev, K. A., I. S. Mardanshin, E. V.  Surina, T. L. Leontieva, M. B. Udalov, and G. V. Benkovskaya. Russ J Genet Appl Res (2017) 7: 36. doi:10.1134/S2079059717010063

The main approach to pest control consists in the application of chemical insecticides. The efficacy of insecticides is reduced due to the development of resistance by pest populations. This is an especially important problem with the Colorado potato beetle. There are different strategies for the use of insecticides to slow the formation of resistance. Based on the results of long-term studies, we propose a hypothesis on delaying the development of resistance by applying insecticides at low doses. To test this hypothesis, we built predictive discrete genetic models of resistance in the Colorado potato beetle populations. The model based on the classical equations of population genetics has been supplemented by various factors. Calculations of the survival rates of individuals of the Colorado potato beetle were carried out taking into account the statistical regularities of the distribution of toxic substance after treatment by insecticides. We calculated the survival rates for different genotypes using a lognormal distribution after at least doubling the insecticide dose. The factor of differential mortality during winter was additionally introduced into the model. The use of phenetic markers of nonspecific resistance to environmental factors allowed us to compute the model with mediated intergenic interactions. Various hypotheses on the strategies of overcoming resistance have been tested using this model. The calculations demonstrated that use of insecticides at the minimum effective dose (low dose) leads to a slower increase in the proportion of resistant individuals in the populations of the Colorado potato beetle for two seasons. Resistance develops much more slowly following alternate treatment with insecticides from different chemical classes. The best strategy is through off-season treatment with lower doses of insecticides of different chemical classes.

Kalsi, M. and S. R. Palli. 2017. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 83: 1-12.

Colorado potato beetle (CPB), Leptinotarsa decemlineata is a notorious pest of potato. Co-evolution with Solanaceae plants containing high levels of toxins (glycoalkaloids) helped this insect to develop an efficient detoxification system and resist almost every chemical insecticide introduced for its control. Even though the cross-resistance between plant allelochemicals and insecticides is well acknowledged, the underlying molecular mechanisms are not understood. Here, we investigated the molecular mechanisms involved in detoxification of potato plant allelochemicals and imidacloprid resistance in the field-collected CPB. Our results showed that the imidacloprid-resistant beetles employ metabolic detoxification of both potato plant allelochemicals and imidacloprid by upregulation of common cytochrome P450 genes. RNAi aided knockdown identified four cytochromes P450 genes (CYP6BJa/b, CYP6BJ1v1, CYP9Z25, and CYP9Z29) that are required for defense against both natural and synthetic chemicals. These P450 genes are regulated by the xenobiotic transcription factors Cap n Collar C, CncC and muscle aponeurosis fibromatosis, Maf. Studies on the CYP9Z25 promoter using the luciferase reporter assay identified two binding sites (i.e. GCAGAAT and GTACTGA) for CncC and Maf. Overall, these data showed that CPB employs the metabolic resistance mediated through xenobiotic transcription factors CncC and Maf to regulate multiple P450 genes and detoxify both imidacloprid and potato plant allelochemicals.