Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Spatio-temporal partitioning and sharing of parasitoids by fall armyworm and maize stemborers in Cameroon.

Abstract

Biological invasion is a global concern with species deployed out of native range, the most recent in Africa being the invasion by fall armyworm (FAW) Spodoptera frugiperda J.E. Smith (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). One of the most mentioned ecological consequences is the capacity of invaders to change native communities' structure. Busseola fusca Fuller (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) has long been the most destructive pests of maize in Africa. Few or no studies have attempted to look at the interaction between FAW and native maize pests over a cropping cycle for sustainable management. Maize trials were established over two cropping cycles in Cameroon to investigate the nature of such interactions and eventual sharing of parasitoids. FAW incidence decreased with maize growth, while the reverse was observed for stemborers. Few cases of co-occurrence were recorded at the later maize growth stage. There was a clear indication that FAW infestation was associated with vegetative stages, while stemborers were associated with reproductive stages. Only FAW eggs were found on abaxial and adaxial leaf surfaces, while only stemborer eggs were inside leaf sheaths. Similarly, while larvae of both groups were found in maize whorl and on ears, only FAW larvae were found in closed tassels, while only stemborers were found inside stems. These results are in favour of segregation in time and space in plant colonization by native and invasive pests, which may limit competition and exacerbates damage if no control is provided. The same egg, larval and pupal parasitoids respectively Telenomus remus, Cotesia icipe and Procerochasmias nigromaculatus emerged from isolated FAW and B. fusca eggs, larvae, and pupae. The sharing of parasitoids by both species provides a unique opportunity for augmentative biocontrol.