The western corn rootworm (WCR) is economically the most important pest of maize in Croatia. To predict WCR adult population abundance and variability, traditional, genetic and morphometric monitoring of populations was conducted over time through each phase of the WCR invasion process in Croatia.
Through traditional monitoring it was shown that WCR established their current population and reached economic densities after 14 years persisting in the study area. Regression-tree-based modelling showed that the best predictor of WCR adult abundance was the total amount of rainfall. Genetic monitoring indicated that genetic differentiation increased over time at the intrapopulation level, and morphometric monitoring indicated that wing morphotypes varied according to edaphic landscape changes.
Traditional population metric surveys are important in WCR integrated pest management (IPM), as such surveys can be effectively used to predict population abundances. Novel-use monitoring techniques such as genetics and geometric morphometrics can be used to provide valuable information on variation within and among populations. The monitoring techniques presented herein provide sound data to assist in the understanding of both WCR ecology and population genetics and may provide more information than that currently available using traditional techniques (e.g. sticky traps), and as such these additional techniques should be written into IPM for WCR.