Behavior of wild-type and laboratory-adapted cabbage loopers, Tr̲ich̲o̲pl̲u̲s̲i̲a n̲i (Hübner) (Lepidoptera:Noctuidae)

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Three criteria, development, flight, and oviposition, were used to compare a laboratory-adapted and wild-type colony of Trichoolusia ni. The laboratory-adapted colony was further examined to determine the effect of larval crowding and starvation on the above criteria.

The laboratory-adapted colony displayed a shorter development time and higher immature mortality than the wild-type colony. Differences in flight activity between and within the colonies were observed. Wild-type mated females were the most active group of tested moths. The oviposition rate of the laboratory-adapted colony was higher than the wild-type colony. Innate differences in parent populations and selective pressures during the rearing of the laboratory-adapted colony may explain differences between the colonies.

Larval crowding resulted in prolonged development time, lower pupal weight, increased larval mortality, and increased adult longevity. Starvation during the larval stage produced similar changes. Flight activity declined with the degree of larval crowding and starvation. Larval crowding and starvation also resulted in a decline in adult fecundity and mating frequency. It is postulated that stress to the larvae resulted in a decline in energy sources to be used in the adult stage, producing docile adults.