Response of Pisum sativum (Fabales: Fabaceae) to Sitona lineatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) infestation: effect of adult weevil density on damage, larval population, and yield loss.
Sitona lineatus L. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) is an invasive pest in North America and its geographical range is currently expanding across the Canadian prairies. Adults and larvae of S. lineatus feed upon the foliage and root nodules, respectively, of field pea, Pisum sativum L. (Fabales: Fabaceae), and may contribute to economic losses when population densities are high. Integrated pest management (IPM) programs that incorporate economic thresholds should be used to manage S. lineatus populations in a sustainable manner. The impact of nitrogen fertilizer on field pea yield and the relationships between adult weevil density and above- and below-ground damage and yield were investigated in southern Alberta, Canada using exclusion cages on field pea plots. In each cage, 32 field pea plants were exposed to weevil densities ranging from zero to one adult weevil per plant. Nitrogen-fertilized plants yielded 16% more than unfertilized plants. Nitrogen-fertilized plants had fewer root nodules than unfertilized plants, but fertilizer had no effect on foliar feeding by S. lineatus. Adult density affected foliar feeding damage, with increases in above-ground damage associated with increases in S. lineatus density. Adult density did not affect root nodule damage, larval density, foliar biomass or seed weight. Overall, these results indicate that terminal leaf damage may be used to estimate adult weevil density but cannot be used to predict larval density or yield loss. Further research is required to better understand the impact of larval damage on yield and determine if economic thresholds can be developed using data from large-scale production systems.