The biology, insect density-yield loss relationships, genotype reactions, and consumption and utilisation of food by the legume pod borer, Maruca vitrata (Fabricius) on pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan) and Adzuki bean (Phaseolus angularis) were studied. Post-embryonic development was completed in 20.2 to 22.6 days. Grain yield in plants infested with 2 and 4 larvae was the same as that in uninfested controls, while plants infested with 8 and 16 larvae suffered between 50–68% grain yield loss in pigeonpea and 61–71% in Adzuki bean. Food consumption by third instars was highest on ICPL 90011. This genotype had the lowest approximate digestibility (AD) and efficiency of conversion of ingested food (ECI). The significance of these results in relation to economic damage thresholds is discussed.