Observations onHeliothis peltigera (Schiff.) (Lep., Noctuidae) and its natural enemies in Anand (Gujarat State, India)
Heliothis peltigera (Schiff.) (Noctuidae) was found infesting the weedAcanthospermum hispidum at Anand (Gujarat State), and our observations indicated a close synchrony between the seasonal history ofA. hispidum andH. peltigera. Both appear with the onset of monsoon (July) and disappear as winter approaches (October/November).H. peltigera larvae were observed to feed primarily on the growing tips and terminal leaves, the young larvae forming characteristic leaf-webs. The extent of damage, population of the insect and its natural parasitism were recorded. Peak period of larval activity was in September when up to 53.3% shoots were damaged and 35 larvae/100 shoots were encountered.
The parasites recorded included the egg-parasiteTrichogramma chilotraeae Nag. and Nagar. (Trichogrammatidae), the egg-larval parasiteChelonus heliopae Gupta (Braconidae) and the larval parasitesCampoletis maculipes (Tschek),Eriborus sp.,Pristomerus sp. (all Ichneumonidae),Eucarcelia illota Curran,Palexorista laxa Curran andExorista xanthaspis Wied. (all Tachinidae). ExceptC. heliopae andPristomerus sp., all other parasites are new records onH. peltigera. T. chilotraeae was the most predominant parasite, giving consistently high degree of parasitism which reached up to 100% in October 1973.C. maculipes was next in importance which gave up to 26·7% parasitism in September 1973. A predatory ant,Camponotus sericeus (F.) (Formicidae) and larvae ofChrysopa carnea Steph. (Chrysopidae) were observed preying on youngH. peltigera larvae for the first time.
The survey revealed thatH. peltigera feeds primarily onA. hispidum and is not a serious pest of any economic plants in this region.
The distribution, host-plants and natural enemies ofH. peltigera in different countries is reviewed from literature records.
KeywordsSchiff Arachis Hypogaea Young Larva Economic Plant Natural Parasitism
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