Environmental Entomology (2016) 45, 945-951

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B.R. Panthi, D.R. Seal, J.L. Capinera, G.S. Nuessly and C.G. Martin (2016)
Host selection, growth, and survival of melonworm (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) on four cucurbit crops under laboratory conditions
Environmental Entomology 45 (4), 945-951
Abstract: The melonworm, Diaphania hyalinata L. (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), is one of the most serious insect problems affecting cucurbit production. We evaluated the relative preference and suitability of yellow squash, zucchini, cucumber, and watermelon to melonworm by measuring its oviposition, larval feeding preference, survivorship, and developmental responses in the laboratory. Whole plants were used for oviposition study, whereas host leaf discs were used for all the other studies. Watermelon feeding resulted in the longest larval development period (14.3 d), greatest prepupal weights and survivals rates (92%; first instar to adult) among the four crops. However, for watermelon, adult oviposition preference (199.5 eggs/female), egg survival (70%), and larval feeding (4.1% defoliation) were numerically or statistically lowest, and larval head capsule widths and whole-body lengths were smallest. When differences occurred among these variables, yellow squash, zucchini, and cucumber were each typically higher (or quicker to develop) than watermelon. So why do melonworm adults not prefer watermelon, or at least select it as frequently as squash and cucumber when ovipositing? The answer likely is that there might be some variation in the important chemical components among these cucurbits. We suggest that comparison of kairomones and allomones from watermelon and related cucurbits would be very useful for determining the combination resulting in the lowest risk of damage to the more susceptible cucurbits (assuming the levels can be modified without seriously affecting the crops).
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
(original language: English)
Full text of article
Database assignments for author(s): Babu Panthi, John L. Capinera

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Diaphania hyalinata Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) U.S.A. (SE)
Diaphania hyalinata Watermelon/colocynth (Citrullus)
Diaphania hyalinata Squash/pumpkin (Cucurbita) U.S.A. (SE)