Suitalbility of Potential Wild Hosts of Diaphania Species in Southern Florida

K. D. Elsey, J. E. Pena, V. H. Waddill

Abstract


The cucurbit weed, Melothria pendula L., was found to be an important wild host of pickleworm, Diaphania nitidalis (Stoll) and the melonworm, Diaphania hyalinata (L.), in southern Florida. Laboratory feeding tests showed that foliage of another abundant cucurbit weed, Momordica chorantia L., was unfavorable for larval survival, yet both insect species were found on this plant in field samples. It is believed that pickleworm larvae can develop on Momordica flowers and fruit, while melonworms found on Momordica may constitute a host race or sibling species.

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