Host Selection Behavior of Leptophobia aripa (Lepidoptera: Pieridae)

Jos A. Santiago Lastra, Luis E. Garca Barrios, Julio C. Rojas, Hugo Perales Rivera


Host selection and egg laying behavior of wild populations of the mountain white butterfly, Leptophobia aripa (Boisduval), was observed in the presence of a group of host plants (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata) of varying quality. Host variation was generated by manipulating three crop management variables: fertilization, water, and light. Leptophobia aripa was not indifferent to host quality variation, and showed great ability to evaluate and discern among a group of hosts. A sigmoidal relation was found between egg laying and host plant size. The latter was probably perceived through the host's diameter, or other physical and chemical characteristics related to this attribute. More detailed studies are necessary in order to understand which cues this insect uses to locate its host and which other attributes it evaluates upon deciding to lay eggs. This understanding could allow for the development of agro-ecological alternatives in controlling this insect, considered to be a crop pest in some regions of Mexico and Central America.

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