Age-related cannibalism and horizontal transmission of a nuclear polyhedrosis virus in larval Spodoptera frugiperda

Chapman, Jason W, Williams, Trevor, Escribano, Ana, Caballero, Primitivo, Cave, Ronald D and Goulson, Dave (1999) Age-related cannibalism and horizontal transmission of a nuclear polyhedrosis virus in larval Spodoptera frugiperda. Ecological Entomology, 24 (3). pp. 268-275. ISSN 0307-6946

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1. Experiments were carried out to investigate the incidence of cannibalism throughout the larval development of the noctuid moth Spodoptera frugiperda, and to examine the risk of infection from consuming conspecifics infected with a nuclear polyhedrosis virus (SfNPV). 2. Cannibalism was observed commonly even when food was not limiting, but occurred more frequently at low food quantities and/or high rearing densities. The sex of the larvae had no effect on the incidence of cannibalistic behaviour, however the probability of cannibalism occurring was affected by larval stage. The frequency of cannibalism was significantly higher among fifth- and sixth-instar larvae than among earlier instars, and larvae were more likely to consume younger conspecifics than larvae of the same stage. 3. Fifth-instar larvae offered fourth-instar victims fed equally on healthy larvae, virus-infected larvae (2 days post-infection), uninfected corpses, and virus-killed corpses (6 days post-infection). Horizontal transmission of SfNPV was only recorded in larvae offered virus-killed corpses, however, and total mortality in this treatment was only 32%. 4. In a similar experiment, fourth-instar larvae avoided cannibalising virus-killed corpses. Horizontal transmission of SfNPV was recorded in fourth-instar larvae that consumed 2-day post-infected larvae. The low incidence of cannibalism observed in fourth-instar larvae, however, suggests that this is unlikely to provide an important route for the transmission of SfNPV.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: Catrina Hey
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2014 11:10
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2014 11:10
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