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Insects 2016, 7(3), 32; doi:10.3390/insects7030032

Pickleworm (Diaphania nitidalis Cramer) Neonate Feeding Preferences and the Implications for a Push-Pull Management System

Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, University of Hawaii, Manoa, 3050 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Michael J. Stout, Jeff Davis and Rodrigo Diaz
Received: 19 March 2016 / Revised: 23 June 2016 / Accepted: 29 June 2016 / Published: 5 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Pest Management)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [610 KB, uploaded 5 July 2016]   |  


Push-pull cropping approaches for pest management target the oviposition behavior of adult females. However, insect larvae may move from the natal host and undermine the effectiveness of this approach. We investigated the longevity and feeding preference of pickleworm neonates (Diaphania nitidalis Cramer (Lepidoptera: Crambidae)) in relation to a potential push-pull cropping approach incorporating squash as a trap crop (pull) and watermelon as a deterrent intercrop (push) to protect a main crop of cantaloupe. Neonates could survive between 24 to 64 h without food, indicating they have some initial energy reserves to keep alive while in search of a suitable feeding site. To assess neonate feeding preferences, naive neonates were given the choice of five foods; leaves of squash, cantaloupe, watermelon, bean, and a pinto bean-based artificial diet. To assess if previous feeding experience influences neonate food source preference, neonates were allowed to feed on one of the five foods for 24 h and then given the same choice of the five food sources. The neonates, with or without previous feeding experience, did not appear to have a significant preference for any of the cucurbits: squash, cantaloupe, or watermelon, but they did prefer a cucurbit to the bean leaf or artificial diet. Feeding experience on one of these non-host foods made neonates more accepting of these food sources in the choice arena even when host plant food sources became available. It appears that neonate feeding preferences of pickleworm would neither hinder nor enhance the potential success of the proposed cucurbits to be used in a potential push-pull cropping approach for pickleworm management. View Full-Text
Keywords: push-pull cropping; trap cropping; Crambidae; Lepidoptera; Cucurbitaceae; host plant preference push-pull cropping; trap cropping; Crambidae; Lepidoptera; Cucurbitaceae; host plant preference

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Leiner, R.; Spafford, H. Pickleworm (Diaphania nitidalis Cramer) Neonate Feeding Preferences and the Implications for a Push-Pull Management System. Insects 2016, 7, 32.

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