Vol. 1, Issue 7 (2016)
Sesame webworm, Antigastra catalaunalis duponchel (Crambidae: Lepidoptera) survives on a new alternate host in Southern India
Author(s): M Saravanaraman, V Selvanarayanan, K Saravanan
Abstract: Sesame webworm, Antigastra catalaunalis Duponchel (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeds on tender foliage at the early stages of the crop by webbing the top leaves, and bores into ﬂower buds and pods at maturity. Its infestation from seedling to maturity stage of the crop causes heavy yield loss. Sesame, being a seasonal crop, survival and development of A. catalaunalis on alternate hosts play a significant role in its perpetual predominance. Hence, a survey was conducted at Annamalai Nagar, Cuddalore district, Tamil Nadu state, Southern India during June to September 2014 and December 2014 to March 2015 to catalogue the alternate hosts of A. catalaunalis. During the survey, the weed plant, Pedalium murex Linn, commonly called large caltrops, was recorded for the first time as alternate host of A. catalaunalis. On P. murex, shoot damage to the tune of 13.66% was recorded whereas the capsules were undamaged. Further, to evaluate the role of P. murex on the pest, the biology of A. catalaunalis was studied using pot cultured plants of this novel host in comparison with the prime host, sesame. Larval tenure and adult longevity were found extended on P. murex than sesame. This indicates that A. catalaunalis survives successfully on P. murex.