Survival and Development of Heliothis virescens (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Larvae on Isogenic Tobacco Lines with Different Levels of Alkaloids

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Levels of pyridine alkaloids were measured in 18 tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum L., entries from three parental isolines (‘NC 95’, ‘SC 58’, and ‘Coker 139’), grown at Tifton, GA, Florence, SC, and Oxford, NC, in 1991. Levels of alkaloids in bud leaves (first fully unfolded leaf below the apical leaf bud) were negatively correlated to natural infestation ratings of tobacco budworm larvae, Heliothis virescens (F.), 7 wk after transplanting. For artificially infested bud leaves at Oxford, there was a significant negative correlation between levels of total alkaloids and larval weights after 1 wk of feeding. In 1992, four entries from the ‘NC 95’ isoline were grown at Oxford, and samples for alkaloid analyses were taken every 2 wk at several leaf positions on each plant. During weeks 4, 8, 12, and 16, second instar tobacco budworms were caged on individual, intact leaves inside perforated plastic bags in the field. The survival and development of tobacco budworm larvae after 1 wk were negatively correlated with levels of alkaloids at the various leaf positions. Larvae survived better and grew faster on the bud leaves of each entry where alkaloid levels were lower than they did on leaves further down the stalk where alkaloid levels were higher. More larvae survived on the lower leaves of the low alkaloid lines than on the lower leaves of the high alkaloid lines. Even moderate increases in pyridine alkaloids had negative effects on tobacco budworm survival and development. Nicotine constituted >97% of the pyridine alkaloids in the ‘NC95’ isoline each year.

Keywords: Nicotiana; anabasine; anatabine; nicotine; nornicotine; tobacco budworm

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2002

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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