Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Approaches for assessing the impact of Zea mays (Poaceae) on the behavior of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and its parasitoid Cotesia marginiventris (Hymenoptera: Braconidae).

Abstract

Plant derived volatiles are cues used widely that guide the behavior of plant associated insects, influencing both the ability of insects to locate host plants, as well as tritrophic interactions with predators or parasitoids. Therefore, an understanding of how volatiles impact a specific ecological system may aid the development of plants that are less attractive to pests or more amenable to biocontrol. Because each plant-insect interaction is different, it is important to develop bioassays to compare plants with different volatile profiles and assess their comparative attractiveness to specific insects. To this end, we developed a laboratory-based pair-wise choice assay to determine the oviposition preference of fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), a global crop pest, to maize, Zea mays L. (Poaceae) plants with different volatile profiles. An alternative greenhouse-based assay also was developed to assess the effect of different Z. mays plants on the oviposition behavior of Cotesia marginiventris (Cresson) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a parasitoid wasp that can be used as a biocontrol agent for S. frugiperda. These bioassays are easily adaptable for use on a range of plant-insect interactions.