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Responses of ovipositing moths to host plant deprivation: life history aspects and implications for intercropping

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1. When considering intercropping as a strategy to reduce pest oviposition, knowledge about the insect’s oviposition behaviour is very important. Physiological effects on the insect because of difficulties in finding a suitable oviposition site may also be important.

2. In the present study, the effects that delays in access to host plants have on lifetime fecundity on diamondback moth and leek moth were examined. The ability to postpone egg laying, fecundity and lifetime oviposition are discussed in relation to intercrop/cover crop as a strategy to reduce oviposition on crop plants.

3. When faced with host plant deprivation, the diamondback moth is relatively more dependent upon host plant stimuli for the onset of egg production. By contrast, leek moth is able to postpone egg production for a longer time. There even appeared to be a tendency for leek moth females to extend their lifetime when faced with host plant deprivation.

4. We conclude that leek moths have the ability to postpone production of eggs and lay them later in life when finally encountering host plants after a period of host plant deprivation. Therefore, the use of intercropping as a strategy to reduce oviposition is questionable. For such an insect, use of a trap crop might be a better option because the female will lay her eggs in the trap crop and not get the opportunity to lay them later in life when finally encountering crop plants.
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Keywords: Acrolepiopsis assectella; Lepidoptera; Plutella xylostella; fecundity; longevity; plant stimuli; vegetational diversity

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-08-01

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