Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Associations between host plant concentrations of selected biochemical nutrients and Mexican rice borer, Eoreuma loftini, infestation.

Abstract

The Mexican rice borer, Eoreuma loftini (Dyar) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), is an economic pest of sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids) and other graminaceous host crops, and it attacks grassy weeds. Oviposition preference has been known to be for plants with leaves that form folds. This study is the first to associate the nutritional quality of crop and forage plant hosts with Mexican rice borer injury. Three experiments were conducted to determine the levels of selected biochemical nutrients, including free amino acids and sugars, in four grass weeds [barnyardgrass, Echinochloa crus-galli (L.); broadleaf signalgrass, Urochloa platyphylla (Munro ex C. Wright); johnsongrass, Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers.; and Vasey's grass, Paspalum urvillei Steud.], a forage grass [sudangrass, Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moensch spp. drummondi (Nees ex Steud.) de Wet & Harlan], three crop species [maize, Zea mays L.; sorghum, Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench; and sugarcane, Saccharum spp.], and a sorghum-sudangrass forage hybrid (all Poaceae). Of 16 free amino acids detected among plants in the first two experiments, only high accumulations of free histidine in sudangrass and maize were associated with increased infestations by Mexican rice borer larvae. In all three experiments, high levels of fructose were associated with heightened Mexican rice borer infestation. Ramifications of these findings on the potential dispersal of this invasive pest in the USA and possible applications of fructose in baits are discussed.