Biology and host range of the taro planthopper, Tarophagus proserpina Kirk.
The biology of the delphacid Tarophagus proserpina, a pest of taro, was studied in the laboratory using individuals collected in the Philippines. The total developmental period was a mean of 30.86 and 31.29 days for the male and female, respectively. There were 5 nymphal instars, ranging in duration from a mean of 1.31 and 1.25 days in the 1st-instar, to 17.58 and 17.50 in the 5th-instar for the male and female, respectively. The lifespan of the female was a mean of 61.38 days, longer than that of the male (58.50 days). Mortality was low (8%) in the 1st- to 3rd-instar nymphs. Both sexes were morphologically similar except in size and genital structure. T. proserpina was observed to feed on a variety of plants in the laboratory and in the field, including ornamental gabi (Caladium bicolor), yautia (Xanthosoma sp.), sweet potato, cassava and weeds such as milkweed (Euphorbia hirta), kangkong (Ipomoea aquatica), gabi-gabi (Monochoria vaginalis) and alikbangon (Commelina benghalensis). Natural enemies of T. proserpina which were observed in the field included a formicid which was predacious on the eggs, the larvae of an acarid belonging to Trombidiidae which were predacious on the nymphs and adults and a minute gastropod which was parasitic on the nymphs.