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Varying durations of arrested oocyte development in relation to migration in the African armyworm moth, Spodoptera exempta (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

  • W. W. Page (a1)

Abstract

The rate of oocyte development in Spodoptera exempta (Walker) was investigated in the laboratory and in the field in Kenya. Stages and rates of development were examined in relation to moth size and timing of mating and oviposition. The stage of oocyte development was established by measuring the widths of the second or third oocyte at the distal end of one ovariole. Data from moths of known age showed that oocytes were partially developed at eclosion and that a linear progression in development occurred up to 30 h after emergence, by which time the oocytes had reached approximately half their mature size. Oocyte development continued unbroken in some moths up to the time of oviposition on the second night after emergence, whilst the remainder arrested oocyte development for a varying number of days. Mating occurred after midnight, but only once the oocytes had reached a certain size, irrespective of whether development was continuous or arrested. In the latter case, this stage was reached immediately after development resumed. Oviposition usually occurred the night after mating, mainly around midnight and with a second peak towards dawn. The dawn peak derived from mature moths which mated and oviposited on the same night. It is suggested that moths arrest oocyte development to minimize wing loading during migration and that, since moths stay in arrested development for varying lengths of time (thought to be genetically regulated), dispersal is greatly enhanced.

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Varying durations of arrested oocyte development in relation to migration in the African armyworm moth, Spodoptera exempta (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

  • W. W. Page (a1)

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