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Investigation into Listronotus maculicollis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), a pest of highly maintained turfgrass

Nikki Lynn Rothwell, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Listronotus maculicollis (Dietz) is a major pest of golf course turf in the northeastern United States. Because the larval stage of this insect causes considerable damage to short-mowed turfgrass, such as tees, greens, fairways, golf course superintendents rely on chemical applications for control. I investigated physiological, ecological, and behavioral characteristics of L. maculicollis to enhance management strategies that will lead to reduced insecticide inputs in golf course turf. Among the cool season turfgrass species, L. maculicollis larvae are reportedly found primarily in Poa annua L., annual bluegrass, among cool-season turfgrass species. To confirm this observation, I conducted a quantitative investigation to determine how abundant L. maculicollis larvae were in P. annua compared with other grasses. I also investigated the influence of mowing height and fertilization on the abundance of larvae. L. maculicollis larvae were present in highly maintained grasses (P. annua and Agrostis palustris Huds., creeping bentgrass) in field studies; no differences in numbers of larvae were detected between P. annua and two types of creeping bentgrass. However, in choice and no-choice tests among five grass types, L. maculicollis were significantly abundant in P. annua. Additionally, one study showed L. maculicollis larvae collected from P. annua weighed more than larvae from other grass types. I found a significant effect of fertilizer application. More L. maculicollis were collected in non-fertilized turf compared to fertilized turf, and more larvae were collected in short-mowed plots than from long-mowed plots. I also investigated adult spring emergence and the distribution of adults and larvae on turfgrass hosts. Golf course superintendents observe primary damage on perimeters of short-mowed areas. In an attempt to corroborate their observations, I examined the distribution of adults and larvae across the width of a golf course fairway, but no differences were detected. Although no more larvae were detected at fairway edges, we determined by visual assessment that the turf on the edge of the fairway was poorer quality, and substandard turf quality is often a result of pest, mechanical, or environmental damage. Therefore, from our results, larval feeding alone does not account for the increased damage in edge areas. I also established that adult L. maculicollis emerge from overwintering sites and walk onto host plants in the spring. These results will be utilized to develop perimeter treatment. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area

Entomology|Plant pathology

Recommended Citation

Rothwell, Nikki Lynn, "Investigation into Listronotus maculicollis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), a pest of highly maintained turfgrass" (2003). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3096313.