1985 Fall Armyworm Symposium: Plant Resistance: A Review of Plant Response to Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera Frugiperda (J. E. Smith), Injury in Selected Field and Forage Crops

G. David Buntin


The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith), attacks a wide variety of crops but tends to prefer gramineous plants. Most of the research on plant stress by this insect has focused on field corn, grain sorghum, and Bermuda grass. During vegetative plant growth stages, larvae primarily consume leaf mass which indirectly affects yield in grain crops by reducing photosynthetic leaf area. Injury of seeding plants also may damage or destroy meristematic tissue resulting in reduced plant stands or modified plant architecture. Forage crops and vegetative-stage grain crops can tolerate moderate to large levels of defoliation before significant yield loss occurs. The fall armyworm also will directly damage developing grain of corn and grain sorghum. Quantitative studies of plant stress have permitted the calculation of economic injury levels for Bermuda grass and whorl-stage corn and grain sorghum. Plant stress by the fall armyworm in other crops has received little attention. Research is needed to quantify crop response to fall armyworm injury where quantitative data are lacking and to provide additional data where quantitative results are available. This research should take an agronomic approach that includes detailed measurements of plant growth throughout the entire growing season.

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