Adult Phyllophaga ephilida Host Plant Feeding Preference

Aboubacar Diagne, Richard N. Story, Abner M. Hammond

Abstract


Limited biological information about Phyllophaga ephilida, a major sweet potato pest in Louisiana, is available. In 2001 and 2002, a study was conducted in the laboratory to investigate the feeding preference of adult Phyllophaga ephilida (Say) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) for the foliage of eight woody plant species: water oak (Quercus nigra L.), live oak (Quercus virginiana Mill.), red maple (Acer rubrum L.), slash pine (Pinus caribaea Morelet), pecan (Carya illinoensis (Wangenh) K. Koch), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.), southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora L.), and American elm (Ulmus americana L.). Beetles were placed in an arena with the eight host plants and allowed to feed for 24 h (choice test). Leaf area consumed and change in leaf weight were recorded. In 2001 and 2002, host plant had a significant effect on both leaf area and weight consumed. In 2001, mean leaf area (mm2) consumed was pecan (504), followed by elm (314), water oak (237), maple (176), live oak (38.0), and sweetgum (4.00). Southern magnolia and slash pine were not consumed. In 2002, mean leaf area (mm2) consumed was pecan (628), followed by elm (390), water oak (204), maple (75.0), and live oak (30.0). Southern magnolia, sweetgum, and slash pine were not consumed. In 2001, mean leaf consumption (mg) was pecan (8.400), water oak (3.700), maple (3.500), live oak (1.300), elm (0.300), and sweetgum (0.060). Southern magnolia and slash pine were not consumed. In 2002, mean leaf consumption (mg) was pecan (10.00), elm (4.200), water oak (3.200), maple (1.500), and live oak (1.000). Southern magnolia, sweetgum, and slash pine were not consumed. Phyllophaga ephilida exhibited a preference for pecan, oak, and elm. They avoided slash pine and southern magnolia.

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