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Abundance and mortality of overwintering pupae of Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) on the Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia

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Surveys were conducted between 1997 and 2001 to investigate the incidence of overwintering Helicoverpa spp. pupae under summer crop residues on the Darling Downs, Queensland. Only Helicoverpa armigera was represented in collections of overwintering pupae. The results indicated that late-season crops of cotton, sorghum, maize, soybean, mungbean and sunflower were equally likely to have overwintering pupae under them. In the absence of tillage practices, these crops had the potential to produce similar numbers of moths/ha in the spring. There were expected differences between years in the densities of overwintering pupae and the number of emerged moths/ha. Irrigated crops produced 2.5 times more moths/ha than dryland crops. Overall survival from autumn-formed pupae to emerged moths averaged 44%, with a higher proportion of pupae under maize surviving to produce moths than each of the other crops. Parasitoids killed 44.1% of pupae, with Heteropelma scaposum representing 83.3% of all parasitoids reared from pupae. Percentage parasitism levels were lower in irrigated crops (27.6%) compared with dryland crops (40.5%). Recent changes to Helicoverpa spp. management in cotton/grain-farming systems in south-eastern Queensland, including widespread adoption of Bt cotton, and use of more effective and more selective insecticides, could lead to lower densities of overwintering pupae under late summer crops.
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Keywords: cultivation; diapause; parasitoids; pupae busting

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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