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Improved artificial diet for mass rearing of the tobacco caterpillar, Spodoptera litura (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

  • G.P. Gupta (a1), S. Rani (a1), A. Birah (a1) and M. Raghuraman (a1)


An artificial diet for mass rearing of the tobacco caterpillar Spodoptera litura (Fabricius) from the neonate to adult stage was developed at 27±1°C, 65±5% RH and 16:8 h scoto/photo-phase regime. The diet ingredients consisted of wheat germ (26.0 g), kidney bean flour (51.3 g), chickpea flour (56.0 g), yeast powder (31.6 g), casein (15.2 g), l-ascorbic acid (3.2 g), cholesterol (0.5 g), two multivitamin multimineral capsules, one vitamin E capsule, ABDEC drops (2 ml), castor oil (1 ml), methyl-p-hydroxybenzoate (1.8 g), sorbic acid (1.3 g), streptomycin sulphate (0.25 g), formaldehyde solution (2 ml), agar–agar (16.4 g) and 820 ml distilled water. The new artificial diet successfully supported the growth and development for more than ten generations with enhanced reproductive potential. The mean biological parameters based on rearing of ten continuous generations showed higher pupation (89.2%), emergence (97.2%), survival (86.6%) and fecundity (2486.2 eggs) as compared to the most preferred natural food, castor leaf whose respective recorded values are 80, 75, 60% and 480 eggs. The cost of 1 l of the diet was approximately US$ 2.00 only, on which 200 neonate larvae can be reared. The artificial diet developed is suitable for mass rearing S. litura successfully throughout the year for laboratory and field experimentation as well as for commercial production of nuclear polyhedrosis viruses (Sl NPV).


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Improved artificial diet for mass rearing of the tobacco caterpillar, Spodoptera litura (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

  • G.P. Gupta (a1), S. Rani (a1), A. Birah (a1) and M. Raghuraman (a1)


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