Skip to main content Accessibility help

Identification of major insect pests of Amaranthus spp. and germplasm screening for insect resistance in Tanzania

  • Jason D. Smith (a1) (a2), Fekadu F. Dinssa (a2), Robert S. Anderson (a3), Fu-cheng Su (a4) and Ramasamy Srinivasan (a4)...


Vegetable and grain amaranths represent a vital source of micronutrients and protein in Asia and Africa. However, various foliar lepidopteran pests and stem-mining weevils hinder amaranth production. Insect-resistant cultivars can enhance the productivity of this crop. Here, we report on the performances of amaranth varieties screened for their resistance to insect pests under the field conditions at The World Vegetable Center stations in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. We conducted two preliminary screening trials with a total of 263 entries from around the world in Taiwan and a third preliminary screening trial with 49 African-indigenous entries in Tanzania. Promising entries from these preliminary trials were collectively evaluated in an advanced screening trial in Tanzania, to identify lines resistant to foliar and stem-boring pests in East Africa. Four entries exhibited moderate resistance to foliar pests: TZ51 and TZ53 (Amaranthus cruentus), TZ34 (A. dubius) and TZ39 (Amaranthus sp.). Five entries showed moderate resistance to stem weevils: TZ06 and TZ27 (A. cruentus), TZ52 (A. graecizans), TZ59 (A. palmeri) and TZ07 (Amaranthus sp.). Lepidopteran pests affecting leaves were reared to adulthood and identified as Spoladea recurvalis (Crambidae), Spodoptera exigua (Noctuidae) and Spodoptera littoralis (Noctuidae). Stem weevil larvae were also reared and identified as: Neocleonus sannio Herbst, Gasteroclisus pr. rhomboidalis Boheman, Hypolixus pr. haerens Boheman and Baradine sp. (Curculionidae). These results highlight key amaranth pests in East Africa and identify insect-resistant entries that will be useful in breeding programmes and resistance studies.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Abang, A. F., Srinivasan, R., Kekeunou, S., Hanna, R., Chagomoka, T., Chang, J. C. and Bilong Bilong, C. F. (2014) Identification of okra (Abelmoschus spp.) accessions resistant to aphid (Aphis gossypii Glover) in Cameroon. African Entomology 22, 273284. doi:10.4001/003.022.0201.
Achigan-Dako, E. G., Sogbohossou, O. E. D. and Maundu, P. (2014) Current knowledge on Amaranthus spp.: Research avenues for improved nutritional value and yield in leafy amaranths in sub-Saharan Africa. Euphytica 197, 303317. doi:10.1007/s10681-014-1081-9.
Aderolu, I. A., Omooloye, A. A., and Okelana, F. A. (2013) Occurrence, abundance and control of the major insect pests associated with amaranths in Ibadan, Nigeria. Entomology, Ornithology & Herpetology: Current Research 2, 112. doi:10.4172/2161-0983.1000112
AVRDC (Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center) (1979) Progress Report for 1978. Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center, Shanhua, Taiwan, Republic of China. 173 pp.
Blodgett, J. T., Swart, W. J. and Louw, S. v. d. M. (1998) First report of Fusarium sambucinum, F. oxysporum, and F. subglutinans associated with stem decay of Amaranthus hybridus in South Africa. Plant Disease 82, 1062. doi:10.1094/PDIS.1998.82.9.1062B.
Blodgett, J. T., Swart, W. J. and Louw, S. v. d. M. (2004) Identification of fungi and fungal pathogens associated with Hypolixus haerens and decayed and cankered stems of Amaranthus hybridus. Plant Disease 88, 333337. doi:10.1094/PDIS.2004.88.4.333.
Brown, E. S. and Dewhurst, C. F. (1975) The genus Spodoptera (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae) in Africa and the Near East. Bulletin of Entomological Research 65, 221262. doi:10.1017/S0007485300005939.
de Mendiburu, F. (2014) Agricolae: Statistical procedures for agricultural research. Available at: [Accessed February 9, 2016].
Ebert, A. W. (2014) Potential of underutilized traditional vegetables and legume crops to contribute to food and nutritional security, income and more sustainable production systems. Sustainability 6, 319335. doi:10.3390/su6010319.
Eluwa, M. C. (1977) Studies on Gasteroclisus rhomboidalis (Boheman) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)—a pest of the African “spinach”. Journal of Natural History 11, 417424. doi:10.1080/00222937700770331.
Fan, S., Zhang, F., Deng, K., Yu, C., Liu, S., Zhao, P. and Pan, C. (2013) Spinach or amaranth contains highest residue of metalaxyl, fluazifop-P-butyl, chlorpyrifos, and lambda-cyhalothrin on six leaf vegetables upon open field application. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 61, 20392044.
Gathu, R. K. (2014) Invasion of amaranth and spinach by spotted beet webworm Spoladea recurvalis in semi-arid areas of Kenya. Conference Proceedings of the Horticultural Association of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya.
Greenberg, S. M., Sappington, T. W., Legaspi, B. C. Jr., Liu, T.-X. and Sétamou, M. (2001) Feeding and life history of Spodoptera exigua (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) on different host plants. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 94, 566575.
Hsu, Y.-C. and Srinivasan, R. (2012) Desert horse purslane weed as an alternative host for amaranth leaf webber, Hymenia recurvalis in Taiwan. Formosan Entomologist 32, 297302.
Kagali, R. N. (2014) An Integrated Pest Management Approach of Amaranth Insect Pests in Buuri District, Meru County, Kenya. MSc Thesis, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya. 60 pp.
Kagali, R. N., Kioko, E. N., Osiemo, Z., Muya, S. and Wachera, C. (2013) Insect abundance and diversity on cultivated Amaranthus spp. (Amaranthacea) in Meru County, Kenya. American International Journal of Contemporary Research 3, 110116.
Louw, S. v. d. M., Swart, W. J., Honiball, S. J. and Chen, W. (2002) Weevil–fungus interaction on Amaranthus hybridus (Amaranthaceae) in South Africa. African Entomology 10, 361364.
Louw, S. v. d. M., Van Eeden, C. F. and Weeks, W. J. (1995) Curculionidae (Coleoptera) associated with wild and cultivated Amaranthus spp. (Amaranthaceae) in South Africa. African Crop Science Journal 3, 9398.
Mureithi, D. M., Mworia, J. K., Meyhoefer, R., Murungi, L. K., Losenge, T., Akutse, K. S., Ekesi, S. and Fiaboe, K. K. M. (2015) Survey for pest and natural enemies of amaranth and African nightshades in Kenya and Tanzania, p. 185. In Book of Abstracts Tropentag 2015: International Research on Food Security, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development ‘Management of land use systems for enhanced food security: conflicts, controversies and resolutions’ (edited by Tielkes, E.), Cuvillier Verlag, Berlin, Germany. Available at:
Ogedegbe, A. B. O. and Ezeh, A. E. (2015) Effect of variety and nutrient on insect pest infestation of Amaranthus spp. Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management 19, 251256.
R Core Team (2014) R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Vienna, Austria. URL
Schoonhoven, L. M., van Loon, J. J. A. and Dicke, M. (2006) Insect–Plant Biology. 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, New York, USA. 440 pp.
Shaner, G. and Finney, R. E. (1977) The effect of nitrogen fertilization on the expression of slow-mildewing resistance in Knox wheat. Phytopathology 67, 10511056.
Showler, A. T. (2001) Spodoptera exigua oviposition and larval feeding preferences for pigweed, Amaranthus hybridus, over squaring cotton, Gossypium hirsutum, and a comparison of free amino acids in each host plant. Journal of Chemical Ecology 27, 20132028. doi:10.1023/A:1012238803311.


Identification of major insect pests of Amaranthus spp. and germplasm screening for insect resistance in Tanzania

  • Jason D. Smith (a1) (a2), Fekadu F. Dinssa (a2), Robert S. Anderson (a3), Fu-cheng Su (a4) and Ramasamy Srinivasan (a4)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed