The importance of alternative host plants as reservoirs of the cotton leaf hopper, Amrasca devastans, and its natural enemies

Saeed, Rabia, Razaq, Muhammad and Hardy, Ian C.W. (2015) The importance of alternative host plants as reservoirs of the cotton leaf hopper, Amrasca devastans, and its natural enemies. Journal of Pest Science, 88 (3). pp. 517-531. ISSN 1612-4766

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Many agricultural pests can be harboured by alternative host plants but these can also harbour the pests’ natural enemies. We evaluated the capacity of non-cotton plant species (both naturally growing and cultivated) to function as alternative hosts for the cotton leaf hopper Amrasca devastans (Homoptera: Ciccadellidae) and its natural enemies. Forty-eight species harboured A. devastans. Twenty-four species were true breeding hosts, bearing both nymphal and adult A. devastans, the rest were incidental hosts. The crop Ricinus communis and the vegetables Abelmoschus esculentus and Solanum melongena had the highest potential for harbouring A. devastans and carrying it over into the seedling cotton crop. Natural enemies found on true alternative host plants were spiders, predatory insects (Chrysoperla carnea, Coccinellids, Orius spp. and Geocoris spp.) and two species of egg parasitoids (Arescon enocki and Anagrus sp.). Predators were found on 23 species of alternative host plants, especially R. communis. Parasitoids emerged from one crop species (R. communis) and three vegetable species; with 39 % of A. devastans parasitised. We conclude that the presence of alternative host plants provides both advantages and disadvantages to the cotton agro-ecosystem because they are a source of both natural enemy and pest species. To reduce damage by A. devastans, we recommend that weeds that harbour the pest should be removed, that cotton cultivation with R. communis, A. esculentus, and S. melongena should be avoided, that pesticides should be applied sparingly to cultivate alternative host plants and that cotton crops should be sown earlier.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via
Keywords: Amrasca devastans; Survey; Population density; Plant characteristics; Natural enemies
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Biosciences
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Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2017 09:19
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 20:07

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