Development of Thaumetopoea pityocampa Schiff. (Lepidoptera: Thaumetopoeidae) in relation to food consumption.
T. pityocampa is the most harmful needle-eating insect of the Greek pine forests. Field trials in the Thessaloniki area of N. Greece showed that the development of young larvae which were enclosed in cloth bags on trees of the experimental site was greatly influenced by the kind of food the larvae consumed. Food consisted of needles from five pine species: Pinus brutia, P. pinea, P. maritima [P. pinaster], P. halepensis, and P. radiata. Larvae had greatest weight gain and rate of development when fed on leaves of P. radiata, and least when fed on those of P. pinea.