Cannibalism on Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus Infected Larvae By Heliothis Armigera (Hubn.) and its Effect on Viral Infection

  • N. Dhandapani
  • S. Jayaraj
  • R. J. Rabindra
Research Article


Studies on cannibalism by Heliothis armigera (Hubn.) larvae on nuclear polyhidrosis virus (NPV)-infected larvae and feeding on virosed cadavers indicated that feeding was significantly higher on 4-day-old virosed cadavers followed by 1-day-old cadavers than on healthy or NPV-infected living larvae. The data revealed that cannibalism was significantly higher on NPV-infected (3 days post inoculation) larvae than either healthy larvae or those which had been just inoculated. However, the extent of feeding was higher on healthy larvae (cannibalistic feeding) than on cadavers. Significantly more number of larvae became infected by NPV when they fed on NPV-killed cadavers than on NPV-infected living larvae. Some of the larvae which had fed on either virosed cadavers or NPV-infected larvae survived. But, the disease was expressed in the pupal stage. Pupal mortality was significantly higher in larvae which fed on NPV-inoculated larvae (3 days post inoculation). The multiple choice test to find out the feeding preference of the larvae showed that the larvae had a greater preference to feed on virosed cadavers than either the healthy larvae or the host plant. The role of cannibalistic behaviour in the dissemination of the virus disease under field conditions is discussed.

Key Words

Nuclear polyhedrosis virus infection Heliothis armigera cannibalistic behaviour viral transmission 


Des études de cannibalisme sur des larves de Heliothis armigera infectées par le virus de la polyedrose nucléaire (NPV) et qui se nourrissaient sur les ‘cadavres infectés ont montré que l’alimentation était significativement plus élevée sur les cadavres de quatre jours puis d’un jour, que sur les larves infectées vivantes ou non infectées. Les données ont révélé que le cannibalisme était significativement plus prononcé sur les larves infectées par le virus (3 jours après inoculation) que sur les larves non infectées ou récemment inoculées. Cependant le degré d’alimentation est plus élevé sur les larves non infectées (cannibalisme) que sur les cadavres. Beaucoup plus de larves devenaient significativement plus infectées par le virus en s’alimentant sur les cadavres infectés que quand elles le faisaient sur les larves infectées vivantes. Certaines larves qui s’étaient alimentées sur les cadavres ou sur les larves vivantes contaminées ont survécu. Mais la maladie est apparue chez la pupe. La mortalité au niveau des pupes a été significativement plus élevée que celle observée chez les larves qui se sont alimentées sur les larves infectées (3 jours apres inoculation). Le test de préférence conduit pour déterminer le choix des larves sur le type de nourriture a montré que celles-ci avaient une plus grande préférence à s’alimenter sur les cadavres infectés que sur les larves non infectées ou sur la plante. Le rôle que joue le comportement cannibaliste sur le propagation de la virose sur terrain a été commenté.


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Copyright information

© ICIPE 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Dhandapani
    • 1
  • S. Jayaraj
    • 1
  • R. J. Rabindra
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural EntomologyTamil Nadu Agricultural UniversityCoimbatoreIndia

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