Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 9, 2007
Publication Date: June 1, 2007
Citation: Meagher Jr, R.L., Epsky, N.D., Cherry, R. 2007. Mating behavior and female-produced pheromone use in tropical sod webworm (Lepidoptera: Crambidae).Florida Entomologist. 90:304-308. Interpretive Summary: Tropical sod webworm is a serious caterpillar pest of Florida turfgrasses, especially in the southern part of the state. Larvae feed on varieties of bermudagrass, centipedegrass, seashore paspalum, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass. Research in south Florida showed that it was active all-year long, but had higher activity in the fall. Monitoring of adults is generally conducted using light traps. Entomologists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE), Gainesville, Florida, and colleagues at the Subtropical Horticultural Research Station, Miami, and the University of Florida, Belle Glade, combined efforts to describe mating behavior and field attraction of male moths to female moths. This work will provide a framework so that the female-produced pheromone can be identified and so that monitoring using pheromone traps can be designed.
Technical Abstract: Experiments were conducted to help develop a pheromone-based monitoring system for the tropical sod webworm, Herpetogramma phaeopteralis (Guenée). A laboratory rearing procedure was developed to produce individuals for behavioral bioassays. Virgin females placed in Unitraps in the field attracted and captured males for 8 d, while no males were captured in unbaited traps. Total trap capture per female ranged from 1 to 24 males, and there was a slight decrease in male capture as females aged. Laboratory mating behavior studies suggested that mating occurs later in the scotophase. Males responded to virgin females in a linear olfactometer throughout the dark period (scotophase), although there was a trend for higher male activity late in scotophase. Tropical sod webworm exhibits simple and reserved calling and mating behaviors which makes the collection and analysis of pheromone components difficult.