Enzyme polymorphism in the corn earworm, heliothis zea (lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Hemolymph esterase polymorphism

Douglas K. Sell, Gregory S. Whitt, Robert L. Metcalf, Lu Ping Kan Lee

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Esterases present in the hemolymph of last instar Heliothis zea (Boddie) were separated by Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Four systems, all polymorphic, were observed. One system, Est-II, appeared especially suited for the study of some of the important population processes of this species; these include host-plant relations, migration, and the effects of environmental pressures such as pesticides on the species. Est-II was classified as a carboxylesterase, being sensitive only to organophosphate inhibitors. Dichlorvos at 10–5 M completely inhibited Est-II activity. Populations collected from corn from Tifton, Ga., and in two locations in Illinois, at approximately the same time were very similar genetically when compared on the basis of Est-II allele frequencies. A population collected from leguminous hosts in Tifton, Ga., at the same time as the above three populations was different genetically. Est-IIc, an allele normally rare or absent in the populations studied, was present at a high frequency in one Urbana population collection. Est-11c may be useful in studying the long-range dispersal of H. zea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-709
Number of pages9
JournalThe Canadian Entomologist
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1974

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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