Adaptability and comparative biology of fall armyworm on maize and perennial forage species and relation with chemical-bromatological composition.
This study compared the development of fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), on forage species of different genera (Arachis, Axonopus, and Cynodon) in relation to maize (preferred host) as well as its adaptability on these forage species, which are the main cultivated forages in southern Brazil. The biological performance of S. frugiperda fed on host plants studied showed the highest adaptation index (AI) in maize (26.89), followed by bermudagrass (22.02), suggesting that bermudagrass is the most suitable alternative host for the development of S. frugiperda. In contrast, the giant missionary grass (18.80) and Pinto peanut (13.81) showed lower adequacy, with a relative adaptation index (RAI) 69.93 and 51.35%, respectively, using maize as standard. The cluster analysis based on similarity of the chemical-bromatological parameters showed that maize has a richer composition than the other plant species studied. The multivariate correlation analysis between AI and chemical-bromatological composition showed a positive correlation between AI and contents of ashes, ethereal extract, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium and, to a lesser extent, with contents of nitrogen, crude protein, and copper. In this context, complexity of host composition and balance between components could explain the biological fitness of S. frugiperda on host plant species. Pasture diversification with giant missionary grass, or especially with Pinto peanut, may be an interesting strategy for integrated pest management of fall armyworm in pasturelands in a regional context.