Effects of feeding injury from Popillia japonica (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) on soybean spectral reflectance and yield

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Remote sensing has been shown to be a promising technology for the detection and monitoring of plant stresses including insect feeding. Popillia japonica Newman, is an invasive insect species in the United States, and a pest of concern to soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr., in the upper Midwest. To investigate the effects of P. japonica feeding injury (i.e., defoliation) on soybean canopy spectral reflectance and yield, field trials with plots of caged soybean plants were established during the summers of 2020 and 2021. In each year, field-collected P. japonica adults were released into some of the caged plots, creating a gradient of infestation levels and resulting injury. Estimates of injury caused by P. japonica, ground-based hyperspectral readings, total yield, and yield components were obtained from the caged plots. Injury was greatest in the upper canopy of soybean in plots infested with P. japonica. Overall mean canopy injury (i.e., across lower, middle, and upper canopy) ranged from 0.23 to 6.26%, which is representative of injury levels observed in soybean fields in the Midwest United States. Feeding injury from P. japonica tended to reduce measures of soybean canopy reflectance in near infra-red wavelengths (~700 to 1000 nm). These results indicate that remote sensing has potential for detection of injury from P. japonica and could facilitate scouting for this pest. Effects of P. japonica injury on total yield were not observed, but a reduction in seed size was detected in one of the two years. The threat to soybean yield posed by P. japonica alone appears minimal, but this pest adds to the guild of other defoliating insects in soybean whose combined effects could threaten yield. The results of this research will guide refinement of management recommendations for this pest in soybean and hold relevance for other cropping systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1006092
JournalFrontiers in Insect Science
StatePublished - Oct 20 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this research was provided by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council and the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center through the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Ribeiro, Cira, MacRae and Koch.


  • herbivory
  • integrated pest management
  • Japanese beetle
  • remote sensing
  • yield


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