Effects of intraguild interactions on Anticarsia gemmatalis and Chrysodeixis includens larval fitness and behavior in soybean


BACKGROUND Crop pest management requires an understanding of the complex interactions among species that potentially impact crop yield. In soybean, the velvetbean caterpillar, Anticarsia gemmatalis (Hübner), and the soybean looper, Chrysodeixis includens (Walker), are described as key pests, sharing the same feeding guild. We assessed the intraguild interactions of these species under laboratory conditions. Fitness cost study was conducted to examine the influence of competition on insect development. A video tracking system was used to evaluate behavioral parameters during larval interactions in scenarios with and without food availability. RESULTS In the fitness cost assay, pupal weight was not significantly affected, regardless of sex. However, larval and pupal survival were influenced by the competition, especially in third versus fifth instar scenarios. We detected 40% cannibalism and 46.67% predation when A. gemmatalis and C. includens third instars competed with A. gemmatalis fifth instar, respectively. Distance moved, distance between larvae, body contact (food available) and frequency in food of C. includens larvae were negatively affected by interactions. Anticarsia gemmatalis larvae showed highly active behavior, moving twice or more the distance compared to C. includens larvae, and A. gemmatalis spent more time in body contact with food. CONCLUSION Ours results suggest that A. gemmatalis has a competitive advantage over C. includens. This study provides important information regarding lepidopteran behavior in soybean. We recommended that additional studies are necessary to understand the effects of interactions, especially in field conditions.

Pest Management Science