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Effects of larval host plants on over-wintering physiological dynamics and survival of the cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

Liu, Zhudong, Gong, Peiyu, Heckel, David G., Wei, Wei, Sun, Jianghua, Li, Dianmo
Journal of insect physiology 2009 v.55 no.1 pp. 1-9
Helicoverpa armigera, larvae, host plants, Gossypium hirsutum, Nicotiana tabacum, Phaseolus vulgaris, overwintering, nutrient reserves, glycogen, lipid content, glycerol, myo-inositol, supercooling point, mortality, temperature, temporal variation
Laboratory colonies of cotton bollworm larvae, Helicoverpa armigera, were kept at 20 °C under a photoperiod of L:D = 10:14 and fed on three host plants (cotton, tobacco, kidney bean) and an artificial diet (control) to determine the dynamic effects of larval host quality on over-wintering physiology and mortality. Energy reserves (glycogen and lipid), super-cooling points (SCPs), low-molecular-weight sugars, temperature, and mortality were monitored from November 2002 to April 2003. Lipid content did not change much for each group during over-wintering, but differed according to larval host plants. Larval host plants obviously influence the amount of glycogen, as does time of year: glycogen was lowest in February and increased in early spring. During winter, the mean pupal SCPs increased the most in February, then decreased, and were also affected by larval host plant, i.e. over-wintering pupae reared on kidney bean had the highest SCPs. Levels of glycerol and inositol differed significantly among host plants and months, which peaked in February. Pupal mortality also varied according to larval host plants and time: pupae reached their highest mortality in March and showed host plant differences in January. Records show that February was the coldest month during the period we observed, which corresponded closely to changes in over-wintering characteristics.