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Larval diet influence on oviposition behaviour in Spodoptera littoralis

Anderson, P., Hilker, M., Löfqvist, J.
Entomologia experimentalis et applicata 1995 v.74 no.1 pp. 71-82
Agrotis segetum, Spodoptera littoralis, antennae, diet, feeding preferences, females, frass, insect nutrition, larvae, larval development, methanol, oviposition, oviposition deterrents, potatoes, wheat, wheat germ
Females of Spodoptera littoralis Boisd. (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) with different feeding experiences during their larval development were tested for their ovipositional response to methanol extracts of larval frass and semisynthetic diets. The effect of the following frass, diet and diet component extracts was tested: (a) frass from S. littoralis or Agrotis segetum larvae fed on a potato-based diet; (b) frass from S. littoralis larvae fed on a wheat germ-based diet; (c) potato and wheat germ-based diets; and (d) potatoes and wheat germ. Ovipositing females without prior experience of the potato diet were deterred by extracts of: (1) larval frass from either species fed on potato diet; (2) the potato-based diet; (3) potato. Also females with experience of the potato diet during only a part of their larval development were deterred from oviposition by frass of larvae reared on the potato diet and by the diet itself. However, for females reared on the potato diet for their entire larval development, oviposition was no longer deterred by either of the three extracts listed above. Extracts of: (1) frass from larvae of either species reared on wheat germ diet: (2) the wheat germ diet; or (3) wheat germ did not significantly affect oviposition. Females with ablated antennae were still deterred by frass extracts from larvae fed on potato diet, when they had been reared on the wheat germ diet. In feeding experiments, larvae of larval stage one and of larval stage three-four reared on either of the two diets preferred to feed on the wheat germ diet. However, the preference was significantly stronger for larvae with no prior contact with the potato diet. The effect of larval experience on the loss of oviposition-deterring activity by extracts of larval frass, diets and diet components is discussed in view of induction and selection.