Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Assessment of the Host Range of Fall Armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda Smith (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Manica Province, Mozambique

Version 1 : Received: 4 January 2021 / Approved: 5 January 2021 / Online: 5 January 2021 (17:12:12 CET)

How to cite: Caniço, A.; Mexia, A.; Santos, L. Assessment of the Host Range of Fall Armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda Smith (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Manica Province, Mozambique. Preprints 2021, 2021010102 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202101.0102.v1). Caniço, A.; Mexia, A.; Santos, L. Assessment of the Host Range of Fall Armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda Smith (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Manica Province, Mozambique. Preprints 2021, 2021010102 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202101.0102.v1).

Abstract

The alien invasive insect pest Spodoptera frugiperda Smith (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), commonly referred to as Fall Armyworm (FAW), is a polyphagous insect feeding on more than 350 host plants in addition to maize in its native habitat. Due to the voracious nature of FAW, significant yield losses on maize production were reported across the African continent since its detection in 2016. Despite being a polyphagous insect, little is known about its alternative host plants in the new habitat including Mozambique. This study aimed to assess the host range of FAW in the central province of Manica, Mozambique. A field survey was conducted from May to August 2019 (dry season of 2018/2019 cropping season) and in December 2019 and January 2020 (rainy season of 2019/2020 cropping season) in maize fields and crops often mixed with maize or located in the vicinity of maize fields. A total of 1291 fields were surveyed. In each field, 20 plants were selected in a “W” pattern and checked for the presence of FAW egg masses and/or larvae. At the time of the sampling, no evidence was found suggesting that in Manica province FAW feeds in crops other than maize because out of 35 different crops surveyed, FAW was only recorded on maize. Results from this study suggest that the strain of FAW occurring in Manica province might be the one specialized in maize or the continuous availability of maize fields throughout the year is influencing the choices of the host plants of this invasive insect pest.

Subject Areas

invasive species; Noctuidae; host plants; polyphagous insects; host-strain; pest management

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