Damage and grain yield losses caused by European corn borer (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in early maturing European maize hybrids

M. Bohn, R. C. Kreps, D. Klein, A. E. Melchinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hubner), is a major pest of maize, Zea mays L., in Central Europe. The resistance of 8 early maturing commercial maize hybrids and 6 experimental hybrids against European corn borer was assessed during 1996 and 1997 in Germany. Resistance was evaluated by yield reduction and damage ratings under natural and manual infestation in 11 or 6 environments, respectively. The infestation level of European corn borer was assessed by the percentage of damaged plants and number of larvae per plant in each environment. Average grain yield of the commercial hybrids was reduced by 0.28% for each 1% of damaged plants and by 6.05% for each European corn borer larvae per plant. All commercial and experimental hybrids were susceptible to European corn borer attack. The commercial hybrids showed little variation in their resistance to European corn borer. The experimental hybrids derived from crosses between resistant inbreds were more resistant than crosses between intermediate and susceptible inbreds. The evaluation of yield reduction required manual infestation because of the low natural infestation level in most environments. However, a comparison of error variances and repeatabilities revealed that they were of similar magnitude for environments with a high level of natural and manual infestation. Yield reduction and damage ratings were highly correlated (r(p) ≤ 0.85) under both infestation regimes. Consequently, the latter trait should be useful for indirect selection to improve European corn borer resistance in maize.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-731
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of economic entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • European corn borer
  • Maize hybrids
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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