Host preference of sweetpotato weevil, Cylas formicarius elegantulus (Summers): an example of Hopkins’ host-selection principle

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© 2019, Springer Nature B.V. Sweetpotato weevil (SPW), Cylas formicarius elegantulus (Summers), is the most damaging root-feeding insect of sweetpotato, Ipomoea batatas (L.) Poir., worldwide. Larval feeding on storage roots reduces yield and induces terpene production, rendering roots inedible. Selection of sweetpotato cultivars with resistance to insect pests has been carried out for over a century but no high yielding, production acceptable varieties are currently available that are resistant to SPW. A cultivar with resistance to SPW oviposition would be a desirable choice for growers since it will reduce the number of larvae and damage level from SPW. Previous studies have compared cultivar effect on the oviposition of SPW but have not considered the effect of previous rearing experience. Hopkins’ host-selection principle (Hopkin’s HSP) states that phytophagous insects have an oviposition preference for the host that they have been reared on. In this study, we tested cultivar effect on oviposition preference of SPW reared on different cultivars for a minimum of two generations. For adults reared on cvs. Beauregard and Evangeline, adult oviposition preference followed their previous living experience. Thus, our results indicate a strong effect of host fidelity, supporting Hopkin’s HSP. Our results also confirm that cv. Murasaki is a resistant cultivar, resulting in reduced oviposition but not oviposition capacity. It is possible that the reduced oviposition is due to the stress-triggered oosorption from the females feeding on cv. Murasaki.

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Arthropod-Plant Interactions

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