Eur. J. Entomol. 105 (4): 625-630, 2008 | 10.14411/eje.2008.084

Effect of larval crowding on the life history traits of Sesamia nonagrioides (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

Argyro A. FANTINOU1, Dionyssios C. PERDIKIS2, Nikolaos STAMOGIANNIS1
1 Laboratory of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, 118 55 Athens, Greece; e-mail: argyr@aua.gr
2 Laboratory of Agricultural Zoology and Entomology, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, 118 55 Athens, Greece

This study determined the effect of larval density-dependent competition for food on development and adult fitness in Sesamia nonagriodes Lef. (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Different numbers (5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 individuals) of larvae of the pink stalk borer were reared on a constant amount of food. Although crowding during the immature stages did not significantly increase mortality, it prolonged the larval developmental period and resulted in reduced pupal weight. Females were more adversely affected by high density than males, resulting in lighter females, indicating that female growth is more sensitive to density. The fecundity of the adults reared in the various larval crowding treatments was analysed. Total female fecundity was correlated negatively with increasing larval density. The effects of crowding on fecundity were not caused by the reduced pupal weight, indicating that food shortage during larval development may affect adult traits. Female longevity was negatively affected by density and positively related to pupal weight. Thus, larval density may affect the allocation of food resources and adult fitness. We conclude that crowding related changes during larval development directly affect larval life and reduce female fitness.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, Noctuidae, Sesamia nonagriodes, density, competition, development, fecundity, pink stalk borer

Received: December 21, 2008; Accepted: May 29, 2008; Published: October 24, 2008

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