Ovipositional preference of gravid female moths of Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) among selected host plants through choice and no-choice assays.
Given the new spread and potential damage of the fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in India, it has become inevitable to understand the ovipositional preference as well as developmental biology of this invasive species on selected host plants in newer geographical zones. In this study, thorough investigation was conducted on the ovipositional preference of FAW females on different host plants, under choice and non-choice tests. Fall armyworm gravid females had an ovipositional preference towards maize as compared to other host plants, including jowar and ragi and they had a reluctance for cotton and rice, which was confirmed during the choice and no-choice tests. Therefore, under no choice assay, the egg laying preference of gravid female moths were in the decreasing order : maize > jowar > ragi > cotton > rice. In no-choice assay, the results regarding larval count were in line with earlier assays done on ovipositional preference. Significantly the highest number of larvae were recorded on corn plants [36.60 ± 2.36 larvae; mean number of larvae/plant ± S. E.; F(4,20) = 23.21; P < 0.0001] as compared to the other host plants chosen.