Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Effect of soil moisture on pupation behavior and inhabitation of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae).

Abstract

The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is a persistent agricultural pest in many areas of the world, and it successfully invaded China in 2019. Like many lepidopteran insects, S. frugiperda pupates live in soil for protection under harsh environmental conditions. We conducted a serial experiment to understand the pupation behavior of S. frugiperda, as well as the effect of soil moisture on pupation. A digital video camera system was used to monitor larval pupation behavior of S. frugiperda. Four different soil moisture choices (5, 25, 50, and 80%) were used to determine the pupation location and behavior of S. frugiperda under laboratory conditions. The four-choice tests showed that most of the larvae prefer to pupate at 25-50% in saturated soil, and other few larvae burrow and pupate under dry (5%) or wet (80%) soils. In the no-choice tests, S. frugiperda larvae did not prefer the wet soil (80%) to pupate. However, soil moisture did not significantly affect the emergence rates. This study helps to increase the knowledge on pupation ecology of S. frugiperda and implies management strategies for this destructive pest.