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Biology of the gumleaf skeletoniser, Uraba lugens Walker (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), in the southern jarrah forest of Western Australia

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The biology of Uraba lugens Walker, gumleaf skeletoniser (GLS), in the southern jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata Donn ex Smith) forest of Western Australia is examined with respect to: (1) distribution of egg rafts and larvae in the host canopy; (2) survival on different food plants; (3) phenology; (4) mortality; and (5) fecundity. Limited preference for height was found for eggs and larvae within the jarrah canopy. Both jarrah and marri (Corymbia calophylla (Lindl.) K.D. Hill and L.A.S. Johnson) were intermediate hosts within the host range for GLS when compared with more preferred hosts from eastern Australia. A simulation model, used to determine phenology, showed GLS to be bivoltine in Perth and univoltine in the southern jarrah forest near Manjimup, with capacity for the univoltine form to change to a bivoltine cycle following two consecutive warm winters. Six parasitoids were isolated from populations in south-west Western Australia. The eulophid Euplectrus sp. and an unknown mortality agent were the predominant causes of the population decline in 1988, following an outbreak during 1982–88. Fecundities were significantly different between the outbreak and non-outbreak periods. Furthermore, fecundity for the southern jarrah forest population was significantly higher than measured fecundities of bivoltine South Australian populations.
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Keywords: Corymbia; Eucalyptus; Eucalyptus marginata; fecundity; host preference; outbreak; parasitoids; phenology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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