- Oviposition of diamondback moth in the presence and absence of a novel host plant
- Bulletin of Entomological Research
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
The diamondback moth (DBM, Plutella xylostella L. (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae)) consumes a wide variety of brassicaceous host plants and is a common pest of crucifer crops worldwide. A highly unusual infestation of a sugar pea crop was recorded in Kenya in 1999, which persisted for two consecutive years. A strain (DBM-P) from this population was established in the laboratory and is the only one of several strains tested that can complete larval development on sugar peas. The oviposition acceptance and preference of the DBM-P strain was assessed in the presence of cabbage plants, sugar pea plants or both, in comparison to another strain (DBM-Cj) that was collected from cabbage and is unable to grow on pea plants. As expected, DBM-Cj females preferred to oviposit on cabbage plants. Surprisingly, DBM-P females also laid most eggs on cabbage and very few on peas. However, they laid significantly more eggs on the cabbage plant when pea plants were present. Our findings suggest that DBM-P manifested the initial stages of an evolutionary host range expansion, which is incomplete due to lack of oviposition fidelity on pea plants.
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