Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Functional response and intraspecific competition in the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae).

Abstract

Functional responses of the fall armyworm (FAW) larvae at each stage, and their intraspecific competition associated with cannibalism, provide insights into developing pest management strategies for the FAW. To help use insecticides more sparingly, the functional response and intraspecific competition of the FAW larvae were evaluated under the laboratory conditions. The results showed that all stages of the FAW larvae displayed a type II functional response to diet. Based on Holling's disc equation, the search rate (a) and handling time (Th) of sixth instar larvae (a=0.493; Th=0.37 min) were the highest, and the shortest of all larval stages, respectively. Intraspecific competition curves fitted the data for fourth to sixth larval stages of the FAW, and the coefficient of intraspecific competition (m) assessed by the intraspecific competition equation were highest for fifth instar larvae (m=0.48). The present study indicates that 5th and 6th instar larvae can cause the most plant damage (accounted for 88.9% of larval consumption), and these stages should be the focus of any pest management strategy. Intraspecific competition, especially cannibalism, impacts the feeding patterns of the FAW larvae and needs close attention. Understanding the functional response and intraspecific competition of the FAW larvae contributes greatly to practical applications of insecticides, increasing the effectiveness of chemical sprays and decreasing ecological damage.