Resistance of cowpea genotypes to Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and its relationship to resistance-related enzymes.
Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) can attack cowpea plants (Vigna unguiculata [L.] Walp.) (Fabales: Fabaceae) in any growth stage but attacks primarily in the first days after plant emergence, when the plants are more sensitive to defoliation. This study was carried out to evaluate the resistance to S. frugiperda in six cowpea genotypes, of which four were cultivars (BRS Tapahium, BRS Tumucumaque, Fradinho, and Miranda), and two were landraces (Juti and Nioaque), in three different experiments. In the first experiment, adult emergence, adult weight, adult longevity, larva to adult period, numbers of injured leaves per plant canopy (upper, middle, and lower), and reduction in plant dry matter were assessed. In the second experiment, the oviposition preference of S. frugiperda for the different cowpea genotypes was evaluated under free-choice conditions. In the third experiment, levels of peroxidase (POD), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and protein content in cowpea leaves were assessed. Insects fed on landrace Juti plants showed low adult emergence, yielded a lower fitness index, and caused less plant dry matter reduction. In addition, plants of landrace Juti were less preferred for oviposition. Overall, Juti plants showed higher resistance levels in all three resistance categories and higher levels of POD and SOD in S. frugiperda injured leaves, in addition to a lower protein content. Juti will be tested in field conditions, followed by molecular characterization. This will provide additional information about its potential as an S. frugiperda resistance source in plant breeding programs.