Identification of Fall Armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Host Strains Based on Male-Derived Spermatophores

Robert L. Meagher, Rodney N. Nagoshi


Laboratory experiments were designed to identify the host strain paternity of fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) mated females. In no-choice tests, corn or rice strain females were placed in cages with males of the opposite strain. After 48 h, females were dissected and spermatophores were removed. Molecular markers in the cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene were used to identify host strain identity from the spermatophores and results showed the host strain pattern of the mating males. In choice tests, females of either strain were placed in cages with males of both strains. After 48 or 96 h, spermatophores were dissected and were molecularly analyzed to identify the host strain of the mating males. Corn and rice strain females contained spermatophores from males of both strains, indicating that interstrain mating commonly occurs in the laboratory. The analysis of the spermatophores isolated from mated females provides a convenient means of identifying the strain of the mated male. This technique has the promise of being able to directly measure interstrain mating in wild populations.

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