Effects of Larval Rearing Temperature and Host Plant Condition on the Development, Survival, and Coloration of African Armyworm, Spodoptera exempta Walker (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

  • Journal of Environmental Science and Management
  • Dianne Joy Aguilon
  • Luis Rey Velasco
Keywords: Spodoptera exempta, Noctuidae, African armyworm, rearing temperature, host plant condition


Effects of temperature and host plant condition on insect development have been examined in a number of studies but their combined effect is not well investigated. In this study the effects of varying temperatures and host plant conditions and its interaction on development, survival, and coloration of solitarious and gregarious forms of African armyworm (AW), Spodoptera exempta, an outbreak pest species, were studied under laboratory condition. Rearing temperature was found to have significant effects on larval and pupal development and pupal weight in both solitarious and gregarious forms. The effects of host plant condition in both forms were variable; significant effects were consistently observed in pupal development for both gregarious and solitarious forms but not in larval development and pupal weight. Larval and pupal survival of the solitarious form significantly decreased with the decreased in temperature, while only pupal survival decreased with the decreased in temperature in gregarious form. Distinct larval coloration was also observed in different temperatures. Larvae reared at high temperature exhibited lighter coloration, while larvae reared at low temperature exhibited darker coloration regardless of rearing density. The significant interaction of temperature and host plant condition on many aspects of insect fitness measured in this study highlights the need for further studies on the effects of other environmental factors such as relative humidity, rainfall, and light intensity to improve predictions as to how these insect pests will respond to climate change.