Development and Feeding of Fall Armyworm on Miscanthus × giganteus and Switchgrass

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Observations of fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), larvae infesting plots of Miscanthus × giganteus Greef and Deuter ex Hodkinson and Renvoize prompted laboratory-based tests of survival, development, and feeding preferences on leaf tissue from M. × giganteus and switchgrass, Panicum virgatum L. Survival from hatch to pupation was >70 and 50% for fall armyworms reared on switchgrass and M. × giganteus, respectively, although survival of the S. frugiperda rice strain was significantly greater than the corn strain on both crops. Developmental times from hatch to pupation or adult emergence showed effects of crop and S. frugiperda host strain, but analysis of an interaction revealed developmental times for the rice strain were similar on both crops, whereas corn strain larvae showed delayed development on M. × giganteus relative to switchgrass. Analysis of larval (10 d) and pupal masses showed a similar pattern, with effects of crop and an interaction (at 10 d), but only the mass of corn strain larvae feeding on M. × giganteus was reduced relative to the other crop and strain combinations. In choice tests, neonates of both corn and rice strains showed a strong preference for feeding on young tissues rather than mature leaves of M. × giganteus or switchgrass, but they also clearly favored corn, Zea mays L., leaves over either of the perennial grasses. Results indicate both plants are potential hosts for S. frugiperda, but additional information is needed to understand under which scenarios and to what degree fall armyworms may damage perennial grasses grown for biofuel production.

Keywords: Energy Independence and Security Act; bioenergy; biomass; ethanol; pest

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • 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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