Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Eli Levine
Title: Research Entomologist
Mailing address:
Office address:
Address mailcode: 652
Office room:
Location: I-Building, 1816 S. Oak St., Champaign, IL
Phone: 217-714-9118

Determining the factors responsible for egg-laying by the western corn rootworm in east central Illinois and northern Indiana soybean fields. Until the early 1990s, western corn rootworm adults laid their eggs almost exclusively in cornfields. Intense crop rotation in this region of the corn belt appears to have selected for females that lay eggs in soybean fields in addition to cornfields. This adaptation is a very serious threat to crop rotation as a pest management practice for this pest and could cost Illinois farmers alone, $100,000,000 per year, if all rotated acres of corn were affected. Research is needed to determine why this is happening so steps can be taken to keep crop rotation a viable option for controlling this pest.
Examining the role environment and genetics play on prolonged diapause in northern corn rootworm eggs. Prolonged diapause was confirmed by my laboratory in Illinois populations of northern corn rootworms. This trait allows eggs to pass through two or more winters without hatching rather than the normal single winter pattern. Larvae from such eggs can cause injury to corn planted after a one-year rotation with another crop.
Bean pod mottle virus is a disease of soybeans in which the stems of infected plants remain green after the plant is mature. In addition to causing problems with harvest, plants with bean pod mottle virus are predisposed to other diseases which lower seed quality and yield. Bean leaf beetles are the primary vector of this disease. However, western corn rootworm adults that we collect in soybean fields have tested positive for this virus. We are currently conducting bean pod mottle virus transmission tests to determine if western corn rootworms are capable of spreading this disease. If they can, this could be a serious problem since western corn rootworm adults can move quite far over the course of the growing season.
Research activities: My research focuses on the biology, field ecology, and pest-host relationships of insect pests of corn and soybeans, knowledge that must be acquired before these insects can be managed in a more ecologically sound manner.
Teaching activities: Entomology 290, Special Problems.
Outreach activities: Talks and recommendations to corn and soybean producers and other agricultural professionals.
Message to students:
2003 Team Award for Excellence, Western Corn Rootworm Strategic Pest Management Team, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
2003 Entomological Society of America
Professional affiliations:
Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Affiliate, Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Member of the Entomological Society of America, Georgia Entomological Society, Sigma Xi, and Phi Kappa Phi.
Selected publications:
Levine, E., and H. Oloumi-Sadeghi. 1991. Management of diabroticite rootworms in corn. Annual Review Entomol. 36: 229-255.
Levine, E., H. Oloumi-Sadeghi, and J. R. Fisher. 1992. Discovery of multiyear diapause in Illinois and South Dakota northern corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) eggs and incidence of the prolonged diapause trait in Illinois. J. Econ. Entomol. 85: 262-267.
Levine, E., H. Oloumi-Sadeghi, and C. R. Ellis. 1992. Thermal requirements, hatching patterns, and prolonged diapause in western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) eggs. J. Econ. Entomol. 85: 2425-2432.
Levine, E., and H. Oloumi-Sadeghi. 1996. Western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) larval injury to corn grown for seed production following soybeans grown for seed production. J. Econ. Entomol. 89: 1010-1016.
Onstad, D. W., M. G. Joselyn, S. A. Isard, E. Levine, J. L. Spencer, L. W. Bledsoe, C. R. Edwards, C. D. DiFonzo, and H. Willson. 1999. Modeling the spread of western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) populations adapting to soybean-corn rotation. Environ. Entomol. 28: 188-194.
Spencer, J. L., S. A. Isard, and E. Levine. 1999. Free flight of western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) to corn and soybean plants in a walk-in wind tunnel. J. Econ. Entomol. 92: 146-155.
Onstad, D. W., C. A. Guse, J. L. Spencer, E. Levine, and M. E. Gray. 2001. Modeling the dynamics of adaptation to transgenic corn by western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). J. Econ. Entomol. 94: 529-540.
Onstad, D. W., J. L. Spencer, C. A. Guse, E. Levine, and S. A. Isard. 2001. Modeling evolution of behavioral resistance by an insect to crop rotation. Entomologia Exp. et Applic. 100: 195-201.
Levine, E., J. L. Spencer, S. A. Isard, D. W. Onstad, and M. E. Gray. 2002. Adaptation of the western corn rootworm to crop rotation: evolution of a new strain in response to a management practice. American Entomologist 48: 94-107.
Onstad, D. W., D. W. Crowder, S. A. Isard, E. Levine, J. L. Spencer, M. E. O'Neal, S. T. Ratcliffe, M. E. Gray, L. W. Bledsoe, C. D. Di Fonso, J. B. Eisley, and C. R. Edwards. 2003. Does landscape diversity slow the spread of rotation-resistant western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)? Environ. Entomol. 32: 992-1001.
Onstad, D. W., D. W. Crowder, P. D. Mitchell, C. A. Guse, J. L. Spencer, E. Levine, and M. E. Gray. 2003. Economics versus alleles: Balancing integrated pest management and insect resistant management for rotation-resistant western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). J. Econ. Entomol. 96: 1872-1885.
Mabry, T. R., H. A. Hobbs, T. A. Steinlage, B. B. Johnson, W. L. Pedersen, J. L. Spencer, E. Levine, S. A. Isard, L. L. Domier, and G. L. Hartman. 2003. Distribution of leaf-feeding beetles and Bean pod mottle virus (BPMV) in Illinois and transmission of BPMV in soybean. Plant Disease 87: 1221-1225.

Isard, S. A., J. L. Spencer, T. R. Mabry, and E. Levine. 2004. Influence of atmospheric conditions on high-elevation flight of western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Environ. Entomol. 33: 650-656.

Mabry, T. R., J. L. Spencer, E. Levine, and S. A. Isard. 2004. Western corn rootworm (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) behavior is affected by alternating diets of corn and soybean. Environ. Entomol. 33: 860-871.

Levine, E. 2004. Root-feeding Insects, pp. 1114-1116. In Goodman, R. M. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Plant and Crop Science. Marcel Dekker, New York, NY.
INHS Publink:
Program affiliates:
Michael E. Gray, Professor, Dept. of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois.
Glen Hartman, USDA-ARS.
Scott A. Isard, Professor, Dept. of Plant Pathology, Penn State University.
Randall Nelson, Plant Physiology and Genetics Research Unit, USDA-ARS.
David W. Onstad, Associate Professor, Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois.
Joseph Spencer, Assistant Professional Scientist, Illinois Natural History Survey.
Professional society involvement and activities:
Illinois representative, secretary, vice-chair, and chair of NCR-46 (Regional Research Technical Committee on Corn Soil Insects), 1979-present.
Poster display head judge for the Student Competition for the Presidents
Education: PhD, Entomology, Ohio State University, 1977

MS, Entomology, Purdue University, 1974

BS, Environmental Science, Rutgers University, 1972
Lab name: Lab research: Lab publications: Lab current projects:

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