Consumption of various host foliages and their effect on development of Lymantria obfuscata Walker in Kashmir.
Laboratory tests showed that larvae of Lymantria obfuscata (a defoliating pest of fruit and forest trees) reared on the leaves of fifteen host plants consumed a greater leaf area of two apple (Malus sylvestris) varieties (Red Delicious and American Apirouge), Salix alba, Populus nigra (12 632-14 141 mm2 for males and 31 912-42 690 mm2 for females) than of walnut (Juglans regia), apricot (Prunus armeniaca), cherry (Prunus cerasus), almond (Prunus amygdalis [P. dulcis]) and Populus alba (3815-5165 mm2 for males and 10 750-16 726 mm2 for females). The average daily consumption in both sexes showed a linear increase, and 54.41-79.49% and 43.51-68.48% of total leaf area was consumed by female and male larvae, respectively, during the last larval instar. Female larvae consumed 2.81-3.54× more leaf area than male larvae. Larvae of both sexes underwent an additional moult and their first larval instar was of longer duration when reared on almond, apricot and cherry leaves. Some female larvae reared on the Benoni variety of apple and on quince (Cydonia oblonga) underwent an additional moult. Such dimorphism within the larvae on some host plants shows the possibility of the existence of different strains of Lymantria obfuscata in Kashmir. Development of larvae was more rapid on S. alba, P. nigra and Red Delicious and American Apirouge varieties of apple than on P. alba, almond, cherry, apricot and walnut. Larvae failed to develop on William and Sand pear (Pyrus pyrifolia).