Development, survival, and fecundity of Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) on five weedy host plants common across the mid-south USA


  • James P. Glover USDA-ARS Southern Insect Management Research Unit, 141 Experiment Station Road, P.O. Box 346, Stoneville, Mississippi 38776, USA
  • Maribel Portilla USDA-ARS Southern Insect Management Research Unit, 141 Experiment Station Road, P.O. Box 346, Stoneville, Mississippi 38776, USA
  • Gadi V. P. Reddy USDA-ARS Southern Insect Management Research Unit, 141 Experiment Station Road, P.O. Box 346, Stoneville, Mississippi 38776, USA


Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a highly mobile and polyphagous pest known to feed on over 300 cultivated and wild host plant species. Larvae cause significant economic damage to several commercial row crops over multiple generations each growing season. The objective of this study was to compare biological fitness of H. zea on 5 weedy host plants commonly found across the mid-south US. Crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.), white clover (Trifolium repens L.), hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth), kudzu (Pueraria montana [Lour.] Merr. (all Fabaceae), and honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica Thunb.; Caprifoliaceae) were evaluated as primary food sources for H. zea under laboratory conditions at 27 ± 0.5 °C, a relative humidity of 60 ± 5%, and a 14:10 h (L:D) photoperiod. This study measures the development, biomass, survival, and fecundity of H. zea when reared on the reproductive tissues of 5 common weeds. Larvae of H. zea successfully developed on all 5 weeds to adulthood, but significant mortality (> 50%) was observed for larvae reared on hairy vetch, honeysuckle, and kudzu. Larval developmental periods ranged from 30 d to 39 d for H. zea reared on honeysuckle and white clover, respectively. Pupal biomass ranged 158.1 mg to 161.2 mg for individuals reared on hairy vetch, followed by 196.2 mg to 202.8 mg on crimson clover, and 204.6 to 217.4 mg for individuals on white clover, honeysuckle, and kudzu collectively. Pupal emergence varied from 92.1% to 61.8% for crimson clover and hairy vetch, respectively. Larval mortality varied from 25.3% on crimson clover to 68.9% for hairy vetch. Average adult longevity ranged from 10 d to 11 d for females and males reared on crimson clover to 4 d on kudzu and 4 d on white clover for female and male, respectively. The average number of eggs laid by females reared on crimson clover, white clover, hairy vetch, honeysuckle, and kudzu were 553.5, 512.3, 288.2, 194.7, and 142.2, respectively. Our findings indicate crimson and white clover were among the most suitable hosts, and kudzu the most unsuitable based on larval mortality and reproductive capability.



El objetivo de este estudio fue comparar los parámetros biológicos de Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) en cinco plantas hospederas comunes de mid-south: trébol carmesí (Trifolium incarnatum L.), trébol blanco (Trifolium repens L.), arveja vellosa (Vicia villosa Roth), kudzu (Pueraria montana (Lour.) Merr.) (todos Fabaceae) y madreselva Lonicera japonica Thunb. (Caprifoliaceae) evaluadas bajo condiciones de laboratorio a 27 ± 0.5 °C, 60 ± 5% de humedad relativa y un fotoperíodo de 14:10 (L:O). Se midió el tiempo de desarrollo de huevo, larva y pupa, peso pupal, longevidad y fecundidad del adulto de H. zea. La larva se desarrolló con excito hasta adulto sobre las cinco plantas hospederas, sin embargo, se observo una diferencia significativa de > 50% in larvas criadas en arveja vellosa, madreselva y kudzu. El rango del periodo de desarrollo larval vario de 30 d a 39 d en madreselva y trébol blanco, respectivamente. El rango de biomasa de pupa vario de 217.4 mg para hembras criadas en trébol blanco y 213.6 mg para machos criados en madreselva a 161.2 y 158.1 mg para hembras y machos criados en arveja vellosa. La emergencia de pupa vario de 92.1% a 61.8% para trébol carmesí y arveja vellosa, respectivamente. La mortalidad de larva vario de 25.3% en trébol carmesí a 68.9% en arveja vellosa. El rango promedio de longevidad del adulto vario de 10.3 d a 11.2 d para hembras y machos criados en trébol carmesí a 4 d en kudzu y 4 d en trébol blanco, respectivamente. El promedio de huevos ovipositados por hembras criadas en trébol carmesí, trébol blanco, arveja vellosa, madreselva y kudzu fueron de 553.5, 512.3, 288.2, 194.7 y 142.2, respectivamente. Nuestros resultados indican que los tréboles blanco y carmesí fueron los mas susceptibles comparados con el resto de las plantas hospederas y con base en mortalidad de larva y capacidad reproductiva de adultos, kudzu fue el mas resistente.

Key Words: cotton bollworm; fitness; crimson clover; kudzu; honeysuckle; hairy vetch; development time; survival; fecundity; weedy hosts

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