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Biology and population growth parameters of the cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), on five host plant species

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The cotton mealybug, Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), is an invasive pest of cotton, apart from several other important crops, and poses a serious threat to agricultural economy all over the world. Studies on the biology and population growth parameters of P. solenopsis on the five most preferred host plants, namely cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) (Malvaceae), China rose (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.) (Malvaceae), tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) (Solanaceae), congress grass (Parthenium hysterophorus L.) (Asteraceae) and okra (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench) (Malvaceae) were undertaken in the laboratory under controlled temperature and relative humidity. The mean cumulative development time of females was 16.61 days on cotton, 14.16 days on China rose, 14.13 days on okra, 14.00 days on tomato and 13.57 days on congress grass. The longest oviposition period was recorded on cotton (15.20 ± 1.87 days), while it was in the range of 9-10 days in the remaining host plants. Females lived longer (27.40 ± 1.76 days) when reared on cotton, while their life was shortest on tomato (14.60 ± 0.96 days). The highest fecundity was observed on cotton (328.30 ± 23.42), whereas it was found to be in the range 178-212 on the other hosts. The survival frequency from crawler to adult in females was highest on cotton (27.53%), while it was the lowest on tomato (15.87%). The highest net reproductive rate (284.3 females/female/generation), mean length of a generation (31.24 days), and intrinsic rate of increase (0.19 day−1) were recorded on cotton. The finite rate of increase was in the range of 1.18-1.20 (females/female/day) for all the selected host plants. The weekly multiplication rate was highest on China rose and congress grass (3.78), while it was the least on tomato (3.28). The corrected generation time was dissimilar in all the selected host plants, being highest on cotton (31.39 days) and the least on congress grass (27.71 days). The doubling time was shortest on congress grass (3.61 days), while it was longest on tomato (4.11 days). Hence, the host plant species significantly affects population growth of P. solenopsis.

Affiliations: 1: ICAR-Central Institute for Cotton Research, P.B. No. 2, Shankar Nagar P.O., Nagpur-440010, India

*Corresponding author; e-mail:

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