Oviposition preference not necessarily predicts offspring performance in the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) on vegetable crops.
Given the new spread and potential damage of the fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Asia, it has become imperative to understand the development biology of this invasive species on selected vegetable crops in newer geographical regions. In this study, we investigated the ovipositional preference of FAW females on different host plants, under choice- and non-choice tests. In addition, using the age-stage, two-sex life table theory, we assessed the performance of immature FAW individuals fed and reared on selected vegetable crops to get information related to development time, survival, reproduction and longevity. Fall armyworm females had an oviposition preference on maize compared to other vegetable crops, including cabbage and soybean, and reluctance for tomato, which was confirmed during the choice and non-choice tests. In contrast to the oviposition preference, our results also suggest that despite low preference for cabbage, soybean, and tomato, these crops seemed to provide a high benefit for an appropriate offspring performance, exceeding in some cases the benefits from a maize-based diet. Information from this study was discussed in terms of FAW ecology and how female's decision affects their reproductive fitness, and the survival and performance of its offspring.