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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Cabbage Looper Fecundity Maximized by the Combination of Access to Water and Food and Remating

item Landolt, Peter

Submitted to: Entomology Society Of America Annals
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 22, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Research is being conducted to develop safe and effective methods to replace the use of environmentally hazardous pesticides for the control of insect pests of vegetable crops. At the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida, the reproductive behavior of pest species of moths is studied to discover and develop new and safe ways to reduce their mating and reproduction on agricultural crops. The cabbage looper was found to lay much higher numbers of eggs after drinking water, after feeding on sugar, and after mating more than once. This information helps us understand when cabbage looper populations may increase more rapidly with availability of adequate moisture, sugar, and mates, and to devise approaches to minimize crop losses when that occurs. Removal of sugar sources such as weed blossoms and insect honeydew, and reductions in male populations with sex attractant traps, may yhold reproductive rates down.

Technical Abstract: Fecundity and longevity of female cabbage looper moths, Trichoplusia ni (Hubner), were increased significantly by availability of water as well as availability of sugar and honey as food. Both starved and fed females that remated laid significantly more eggs than females that did not remate. Fecundity or longevity was not correlated with pupal weight over the range of pupal weights tested. Fecundity of feral females was similar to that o colony females. Fecundity of colony females reared as larvae on the wild hosts grass lettuce, sow thistle, spiny sow thistle, cat's ear, wild radish and dandelion was similar to fecundity of females reared on artificial diet.

Last Modified: 5/5/2015