Antibiosis Mechanism of Resistance to the Legume Pod Borer, Maruca Testulalis Geyer (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in Cowpea

  • S. Oghiakhe
  • W. A. Makanjuola
  • L. E. N. Jackai
Research Article


The biology of Maruca testulatis Geyer was studied on different parts of 18 cowpea cultivars to determine the role of antibiosis in their levels of resistance. M. testulalis larvae were successfully reared from first instar to adult stage on floral buds, flowers and sliced pods, but not on stems, terminal shoots and intact (unsliced) pods, where there was complete larval mortality. The mean pupal weight ranged from 43.5–54.5 mg on floral buds, 38.5–58.6 mg on flowers and 42.7–58.6 mg on sliced pods, with highly significant differences between (P < 0.01) resistant and susceptible cultivars on each part. Growth indices showed that sliced pods were the most suitable for larval growth and development, followed by flowers and floral buds.

The levels of resistance found were inadequate for solving the M. testulalis problem in cowpea. Selection and breeding for cowpea ideotypes (architypes), to combine such resistance with morphological, biochemical and biophysical traits, could enhance the low levels of resistance in the cowpea crop and ultimately lead to the effective management of this pest. The correlations between growth and development parameters showed that larval period had the most influence on M. testulalis survival and population build-up in the succeeding generations.

Key Words

Cowpea Vigna unguiculata Maruca testulalis antibiosis resistance biology 


La biologie de Maruca testulalis a été étudié sur différentes parties des 18 variétés du niébé pour déterminer le rôle de l’antibiosis sur les niveaux de résistance. Des larves du M. testulalis ont été multipliées en masse avec succès à partir du stade larvaire au stade adulte sur les boutaux floraux, les fleurs ainsi que sur les gousses dissequées mais non pas sur les tiges, bourgeons terminaux et les gousses intactes où était une mortalité complète. Les poids moyens des pupes oscillaient entre 43,5 et 54,5 mg sur les boutaux floraux; 38,5–58,6 mg sur les fleurs et 42,7–58,6 mg sur les gousses dissequées avec une difference hautement significative (P < 0, 01) entre les variétés résistantes et susceptibles de chaque partie. Les indices de croissance ont montré que les gousses dissequées étaient les meilleures pour la croissance et le développement larvaires, suivies des fleurs et des boutaux floraux. Les niveaux de résistance trouvés n’étaient pas souffisants pour résoudre le problème de M. testulalis du niébé. La séléction et le croisement des idéotypes (architypes) du niébé pour combiner telle résistance avec les traits morphologiques, biochimiques et biophysiques renforceraient des bas niveaux de resistance du niébé apportant ainsi un control efficace de cet insecte. La corrélation entre les paramètres de croissance et de développement montrait que le stade larvaire avait plus d’influence sur la survie et la croissance de la population de M. testulalis sur les générations futures.

Mots Clés

Niébe Vigna unguiculata Maruca testulalis antibiose résistance biologie 


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Copyright information

© ICIPE 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Oghiakhe
    • 1
  • W. A. Makanjuola
    • 1
  • L. E. N. Jackai
    • 2
  1. 1.Entomology laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, Zoology UnitUniversity of LagosAkoka-YabaNigeria
  2. 2.International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)IbadanNigeria

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