Agriotes spp: Adult click beetle and their larval "wireworms"
Carly Benefer, a post-doctoral researcher in the Biological Sciences Group, and I have just received funding from the Seale-Hayne Education Trust to develop molecular markers to study the distribution of click beetle larvae (wireworms) in agricultural land.
Worldwide wireworms are economically important pests which live in the soil and consume crop roots, but we currently only have very poor information on their dispersal and distribution. We will use next generation sequencing technology for rapid, high coverage sequencing of DNA for three important UK species, from which microsatellite loci will be identified and optimised for use in population genetics studies.
These markers will ultimately be used to investigate the genetic relatedness of wireworms within and between fields over time, providing data on distribution, dispersal and female oviposition preferences. With this information, and that from projects we are running alongside this on individual movement and male response to sex pheromones (with Prof Rod Blackshaw, also at Plymouth), we will ultimately be able to recommend sustainable pest management strategies for their control.