Larval Development of Fall Armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) on Different Cover Crop Plants

R. L. Meagher, R. N. Nagoshi, C. Stuhl, E. R. Mitchell


A series of laboratory and field experiments were conducted to compare larval development, feeding behavior, and ovipositional preference of fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) on a standard host plant, a standard cover crop plant, and two candidate cover crop plants. The results indicate that larvae from different rearing cultures and host strains developed comparably on corn and sorghum-sudangrass, but generally developed poorly on cowpeas and sunnhemp. Larval and ovipositional experiments also suggested a preference for either corn or sorghum-sudangrass. Field plantings of cowpeas and sunnhemp in two locations were ignored by fall armyworm in favor of corn. These studies suggest that cowpeas and sunnhemp have the potential to reduce stepping stone nursery populations of fall armyworm by lengthening developmental time and increasing larval mortality.

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