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Early season weedy legumes: potential larval food plants for the migratory velvetbean caterpillar (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

Slansky, F. Jr.
Journal of economic entomology 1989 v.82 no.3 pp. 819-824
Glycine max, Medicago lupulina, Trifolium repens, Vicia sativa subsp. nigra, wild plants, Anticarsia gemmatalis, host plants, plant pests, Florida
Survival and growth of larvae of the velvetbean caterpillar (VBC), Anticarsia gemmatalis Hubner, in the laboratory on four early season weedy legume species, three of which have not been reported previously as food plants, indicated that these could serve as larval food plants in the field. Larval development on white sweetclover, Melilotus alba Desrousseaux, black medic, Medicago lupulina L., and a vetch, Vicia angustifolia L., was similar to that on cultivated soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merrill, except that survival on V. angustifolia was very low. Compared with the other species, significantly greater weight gain and growth rate occurred on white clover, Trifolium repens L., associated with a significantly higher efficiency of conversion of ingested food to biomass (ECI), which was the product of a high approximate digestibility (AD) and a high efficiency of conversion of digested food to biomass (ECD). Approximately 50% greater food consumption on G. max and Medicago lupulina was associated with similarly low ECI values, which resulted from a low AD (G. max) or a low ECD (Medicago lupulina). Nitrogen content of G. max foliage was significantly less, and its dry matter content significantly greater, than that of the wild species. Oviposition occurred on all plants in a cage test, although G. max was preferred.