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Performance of the specialist herbivore Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) on Brassicaceae and non-Brassicaceae species

  • R.M. Sarfraz (a1), L.M. Dosdall (a2) and B.A. Keddie (a3)


The diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), is considered oligophagous on Brassicaceae. We determined the preferences and performance of P. xylostella on canola, Brassica napus L., and flixweed, Descurainia sophia (L.) Webb ex Prantl (Brassicaceae), spider-plant, Cleome hassleriana Chod. (Capparaceae), and garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus L. (Tropaeolaceae). Females deposited most eggs on B. napus; T. majus was least preferred. The rate of survival from neonate to pupa was highest on B. napus followed by C. hassleriana, T. majus, and D. sophia. The rate of development of female larvae on Brassicaceae was similar to that on non-Brassicaceae; pupal development was slowest on non-hosts. Female pupae were heaviest on B. napus and lightest on D. sophia. Adult females were heaviest when reared on B. napus and lightest on T. majus and D. sophia. Females reared on D. sophia had the smallest forewings; forewing areas for females on other plants were similar. Females reared on B. napus and C. hassleriana lived longer without food than those reared on D. sophia or T. majus. Males reared on T. majus lived for the shortest time without food. This specialist herbivore can exploit a range of food plants, including suboptimal Brassicaceae and species from other families. This trait appears to facilitate survival and reproduction of P. xylostella when preferred food plants are limiting or absent.

La fausse teigne des crucifères, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), est considérée comme un oligophage des Brassicaceae. Nous avons déterminé les préférences et la performance de P. xylostella sur Brassica napus L. et Descurainia sophia (L.) Webb ex Prantl (Brassicaceae), sur Cleome hassleriana Chod. (Capparaceae) et sur Trapaeolum majus L. (Tropaeolaceae). Les femelles déposent un maximum d'oeufs sur les plants de B. napus et montrent le moins de préférence pour les plants de T. majus. La survie de la naissance à la nymphose est la plus importante sur B. napus, puis chez C. hassleriana, T. majus et D. sophia. Le développement larvaire des femelles est semblable chez les Brassicaceae et les non Brassicaceae; le développement nymphal est le plus lent chez les plants non hôtes. Les nymphes femelles sont les plus lourdes sur B. napus et les plus légères sur D. sophia. Les femelles adultes sont les plus lourdes lorsqu’élevées sur B. napus et les plus légères sur T. majus et D. sophia. Les femelles élevées sur D. sophia ont la surface de l'aile antérieure la plus petite; les surfaces des ailes antérieures sont semblables chez les femelles provenant des autres plantes. Les femelles élevées sur B. napus et C. hassleriana survivent plus longtemps à jeun que celles gardées sur D. sophia ou T. majus. Les mâles élevées sur T. majus survivent le moins longtemps sans nourriture. Cet herbivore spécialisé peut exploiter une gamme de plantes nourricières, y compris les espèces suboptimales de Brassiceae et des espèces d'autres familles. Cette caractéristique semble faciliter la survie et la reproduction de P. xylostella lorsque les plantes nourricières préférées sont limitantes ou absentes.

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