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Evaluating Trap Crops for Diamondback Moth, Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae)

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Potential trap crops for the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), were evaluated through a series of ovipositional preference and larval survival experiments in outdoor screenhouses in 2002 and 2003. Hosts examined as trap crops were glossy and waxy collards, Brassica oleracea L. variety acephala; Indian mustard, Brassica juncea (L.) Czern; and yellow rocket, Barbarea vulgaris (R. Br.) variety arcuata. More eggs were laid on the potential trap crops, with the exception of waxy collards, than on cabbage. When P. xylostella was offered multiple hosts at the same time, numbers of eggs laid on glossy collards, Indian mustard, and yellow rocket were 3, 18, and 12 times greater than on cabbage, respectively. Similarly, when P. xylostella was offered a single trap crop host and cabbage, numbers of eggs laid on glossy collards, Indian mustard, and yellow rocket were 300, 19, and 110 times greater than on cabbage, respectively. Our studies suggest differences in oviposition between the potential trap crops and cabbage were likely due to host volatiles, leaf morphology and color, or a combination of these factors, rather than to total leaf areas, leaf shape, or plant architecture. Two-choice tests with a Y-tube olfactometer indicated that plant volatiles were major factors in P. xylostella host preference. The percentage larval survival from egg to pupation was 22.2% on cabbage, 18.9% on waxy collards, and 24.4% on Indian mustard, whereas survival was significantly lower on glossy collards (6.7%) and yellow rocket (0%). Based on our tests, it seems that yellow rocket may be the best candidate for use as a trap crop for P. xylostella because it is highly attractive for oviposition, but larvae do not survive on it.

Keywords: Indian mustard; Plutella xylostella; glossy and waxy collards; trap crop; yellow rocket

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2004

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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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