Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 779–786 | Cite as

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

  • Jie ChenEmail author
  • Michael J. Stout
  • Julien Beuzelin
  • Tara P. Smith
  • Don LaBonte
  • Jeff M. Murray
  • Jeffrey A. Davis
Original Paper


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.


Cylas formicarius elegantulus (Summers) Ipomoea batatas (L.) Host plant resistance Hopkins’ host-selection principle Previous experience Oviposition capacity 



We thank the Sweetpotato Research Station researchers and staff for their generous support in this study. This study was partially funded by the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission and the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center. This article was approved for publication by the Director of the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station as manuscript No. 2018-234-32151.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Akhtar Y, Isman MB (2003) Larval exposure to oviposition deterrents alters subsequent oviposition behavior in generalist, Trichoplusia ni and specialist, Plutella xylostella moths. J Chem Ecol 29(8):1853–1870Google Scholar
  2. Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (2007) Sweet potato weevil quarantine. Plant Industry Administrative Code, Chapter 80-10-5. Accessed 15 May 2018
  3. Anderson P, Hilker M, Löfqvist J (1995) Larval diet influence on oviposition behaviour in Spodoptera littoralis. Entomol Exp Appl 74(1):71–82Google Scholar
  4. Anyanga MO, Muyinza H, Talwana H, Hall DR, Farman DI, Ssemakula GN, Mwanga RO et al (2013) Resistance to the weevils Cylas puncticollis and Cylas brunneus conferred by sweetpotato root surface compounds. J Agric Food Chem 61(34):8141–8147Google Scholar
  5. Barron AB (2001) The life and death of Hopkins’ host-selection principle. J Insect Behav 14(6):725–737Google Scholar
  6. Bell WJ, Bohm MK (1975) Oosorption in insects. Biol Rev 50(4):373–396Google Scholar
  7. Bernays EA (1993) Aversion learning and feeding. In: Papaj DR et al (eds) Insect learning. Springer, Boston, pp 1–17Google Scholar
  8. Bohac JR, Jackson DM, Mueller JD, Dukes PD (2002) ‘Ruddy’: a multiple-pest-resistant sweetpotato. HortScience 37(6):993–994Google Scholar
  9. Collier TR (1995) Host feeding, egg maturation, resorption, and longevity in the parasitoid Aphytis melinus (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae). Ann Entomol Soc Am 88(2):206–214Google Scholar
  10. Corbet SA (1985) Insect chemosensory responses: a chemical legacy hypothesis. Ecol Entomol 10(2):143–153Google Scholar
  11. Coyle DR, Clark KE, Raffa KF, Johnson SN (2011) Prior host feeding experience influences ovipositional but not feeding preference in a polyphagous insect herbivore. Entomol Exp Appl 138(2):137–145Google Scholar
  12. Dethier VG (1980) Food-aversion learning in two polyphagous caterpillars, Diacrisia virginica and Estigmene congrua. Physiol Entomol 5(4):321–325Google Scholar
  13. Dukes PD, Hamilton MG, Jones A, Schalk JM (1987) ‘Sumor’, a multi-use sweet potato. HortScience 22(1):170–171Google Scholar
  14. Edwards RL (1954) The effect of diet on egg maturation and resorption in Mormoniella vitripennis (Hymenoptera, Pleromalidae). Q J Microsc Sci 95:459–468Google Scholar
  15. FAO (2013) Accessed Feb 2017
  16. Hahn SK, Leuschner K (1981) Resistance of sweet potato cultivars to African sweet potato weevil. Crop Sci 21(4):499–503Google Scholar
  17. Harrison HF, Peterson JK, Snook ME, Bohac JR, Jackson DM (2003) Quantity and potential biological activity of caffeic acid in sweet potato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] storage root periderm. J Agric Food Chem 51(10):2943–2948Google Scholar
  18. Harrison HF, Mitchell TR, Peterson JK, Wechter WP, Majetich GF, Snook ME (2008) Contents of caffeoylquinic acid compounds in the storage roots of sixteen sweetpotato genotypes and their potential biological activity. J Am Soc Hortic Sci 133(4):492–500Google Scholar
  19. Hopkins AD (1917) A discussion of CG Hewitt’s paper on insect behaviour. J Econ Entomol 10:92–93Google Scholar
  20. Immelmann K (1975) Ecological significance of imprinting and early learning. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 6(1):15–37Google Scholar
  21. Jackson DM (2009) Evaluation of regional sweet potato genotypes for resistance to soil insect pests. Arthropod Manage Tests 34:M5Google Scholar
  22. Jackson D (2010) Evaluation of regional sweet potato genotypes for resistance to soil insect pests. Arthropod Manage Tests 35(1):M7Google Scholar
  23. Jackson DM, Bohac JR (2006) Survival and growth of Diabrotica balteata larvae on insect-resistant sweetpotato genotypes. J Agric Urban Entomol 23(2):77–86Google Scholar
  24. Jackson DM, Harrison HF Jr (2013) Insect resistance in traditional and heirloom sweetpotato varieties. J Econ Entomol 106(3):1456–1462Google Scholar
  25. Jackson DM, Peterson JK (2000) Sublethal effects of resin glycosides from the periderm of sweetpotato storage roots on Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae). J Econ Entomol 93(2):388–393Google Scholar
  26. Jackson DM, Bohac JR, Thies JA, Harrison HF (2010) ‘Charleston Scarlet’ sweetpotato. HortScience 45(2):306–309Google Scholar
  27. Jackson DM, Harrison HF, Ryan-Bohac JR (2012) Insect resistance in sweetpotato plant introduction accessions. J Econ Entomol 105(2):651–658Google Scholar
  28. Janz N, Söderlind L, Nylin S (2009) No effect of larval experience on adult host preferences in Polygonia c-album (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae): on the persistence of Hopkins’ host selection principle. Ecol Entomol 34(1):50–57Google Scholar
  29. Jones A, Dukes PD, Schalk JM, Hamilton MG, Mullen MA, Baumgardner RA et al (1983) ‘Resisto’ sweet potato. HortScience 18(2):251–252Google Scholar
  30. Jones A, Dukes PD, Schalk JM, Hamilton MG, Mullen MA, Baumgardner RA et al (1985) ‘Regal’ sweet potato. HortScience 20(4):781–782Google Scholar
  31. Kays SJ (1992) The chemical composition of the sweetpotato. In: Hill WA, Loretan PA (eds) Sweetpotato technology for the 21st century Tuskegee. Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, pp 201–262Google Scholar
  32. Korada RR, Naskar SK, Palaniswami MS, Ray RC (2010) Management of sweetpotato weevil [Cylas formicarius (Fab.)]: an overview. J Root Crops 36:14–26Google Scholar
  33. LaBonte DR, Villordon AQ, Clark CA, Wilson PW, Stoddard CS (2008) ‘Murasaki-29’ sweetpotato. HortScience 43(6):1895–1896Google Scholar
  34. Mao L, Story RN, Hammond AM, LaBonte DR (2001) Effect of sweetpotato genotype, storage time and production site on feeding and oviposition behavior of the sweetpotato weevil, Cylas formicarius (Coleoptera: Apoinidae). Fla Entomol 84:259–264Google Scholar
  35. Marti HR, Mills HA, Severson RF, Kays SJ (1993) Variation in the concentration of surface terpenoids in storage roots of centennial sweetpotato. J Plant Nutr 16(5):741–752Google Scholar
  36. Minkenberg OP, Tatar M, Rosenheim JA (1992) Egg load as a major source of variability in insect foraging and oviposition behavior. Oikos 65:134–142Google Scholar
  37. Mullen MA, Jones A, Paterson DR, Boswell TE (1985) Resistance in sweet potatoes to the sweetpotato weevil, Cylas formicarius elegantulus (Summers) 1. J Entomol Sci 20(3):345–350Google Scholar
  38. O’Brien PJ (1972) The sweet potato: its origin and dispersal. Am Anthropol 74:342–365Google Scholar
  39. Peterson JK, Jackson DM (1998) Influence of sweetpotato resin glycosides on the life cycle of the diamondback moth. HortScience 33(4):606Google Scholar
  40. Phillips WM (1977) Modification of feeding ‘preference’ in the flea-beetle, Haltica lythri (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae). Entomol Exp Appl 21(1):71–80Google Scholar
  41. Reames E, Smith T (2015) Louisiana sweet potatoes ‘Louisiana yams’. Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Publication No. 1843Google Scholar
  42. Rietdorf K, Steidle JL (2002) Was Hopkins right? Influence of larval and early adult experience on the olfactory response in the granary weevil Sitophilus granarius (Coleoptera, Curculionidae). Physiol Entomol 27(3):223–227Google Scholar
  43. Rosenheim JA, Heimpel GE, Mangel M (2000) Egg maturation, egg resorption and the costliness of transient egg limitation in insects. Proc R Soc Lond [Biol] 267(1452):1565–1573Google Scholar
  44. Roush RT, McKenzie JA (1987) Ecological genetics of insecticide and acaricide resistance. Ann Rev Entomol 32(1):361–380Google Scholar
  45. SAS Institute Inc (2013) SAS® 9.4 Guide to Software Updates. SAS Institute Inc, CaryGoogle Scholar
  46. Smith CM (2005) Plant resistance to arthropods: molecular and conventional approaches. Springer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  47. Smith T, Beuzelin J (2015) Insect pest management in Louisiana sweet potatoes. Louisiana State University Agricultural Center. Publication No. 2620Google Scholar
  48. Smith TP, Hammond AM (2006) Comparative susceptibility of sweetpotato weevil (Coleoptera: Brentidae) to selected insecticides. J Econ Entomol 99(6):2024–2029Google Scholar
  49. Smith T, Villordon A, Sheffield RE, LeBlanc BD, Nix K (2012) Environmental best management practices for sweet potato cultivation. Louisiana State University Agricultural Center. Publication No. 2832Google Scholar
  50. Son KC, Severson RF, Kays SJ (1991) A rapid method for screening sweetpotato genotypes for oviposition stimulants to the sweetpotato weevil. HortScience 26(4):409–410Google Scholar
  51. Stange RR, Midland SL, Holmes GJ, Sims JJ, Mayer RT (2001) Constituents from the periderm and outer cortex of Ipomoea batatas with antifungal activity against Rhizopus stolonifer. Postharvest Biol Technol 23(2):85–92Google Scholar
  52. Stevenson PC, Muyinza H, Hall DR, Porter EA, Farman DI, Talwana H et al (2009) Chemical basis for resistance in sweetpotato Ipomoea batatas to the sweetpotato weevil Cylas puncticollis. Pure Appl Chem 81(1):141–151Google Scholar
  53. Story RN, Hammond AM, Murray MJ (2000) Evaluation of sweetpotato germplasm for resistance to sweetpotato weevil, 1999. Arthropod Manage Tests 25(1):M20Google Scholar
  54. Talekar NS (1991) Integrated control of Cylas formicarius. In: Jansson RK, Raman KV (eds) Sweet potato pest management: a global perspective. Westview Press, Boulder, pp 139–156Google Scholar
  55. Technau G, Heisenberg M (1982) Neural reorganisation during metamorphosis of the corpora pendunculata in Drosophila melanogaster. Nature 295:405–407Google Scholar
  56. Truman JW (1990) Metamorphosis of the central nervous system of Drosophila. J Neurobiol 21(7):1072–1084Google Scholar
  57. Tully T, Cambiazo V, Kruse L (1994) Memory through metamorphosis in normal and mutant Drosophila. J Neurosci 14(1):68–74Google Scholar
  58. Uritani I, Saito T, Honda H (1975) Induction of furano-terpenoids in sweet potato roots by the larval components of the sweet potato weevils. Agric Biol Chem 39(9):1857–1862Google Scholar
  59. Van Alphen JJ, Visser ME (1990) Superparasitism as an adaptive strategy for insect parasitoids. Ann Rev Entomol 35(1):59–79Google Scholar
  60. Van Emden HF (1999) Transgenic host plant resistance to insects—some reservations. Ann Entomol Soc Am 92(6):788–797Google Scholar
  61. Van Emden H, Sponagl B, Wagner E, Baker T, Ganguly S, Douloumpaka S (1996) Hopkins’‘host selection principle’, another nail in its coffin. Physiol Entomol 21(4):325–328Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EntomologyLouisiana State University AgCenterBaton RougeUSA
  2. 2.Everglades Research and Education CenterUniversity of FloridaBelle GladeUSA
  3. 3.Sweetpotato Research StationLouisiana State University AgCenterWinnsboroUSA
  4. 4.Department of Plant, Environmental and Soil ScienceBaton RougeUSA

Personalised recommendations