Different generations of the carob moth, Ectomyelois ceratoniae (Zeller), use different date, Phoenix dactylifera L., fruit stages as they become available during the summer months in southern California. These are the kimri, khalal, and tamar fruit stages. This study was conducted to determine whether carob moth development and fitness were affected by these different fruit stages. Developmental time from neonate larvae to adult, when reared at 31.9°C and 82.1% RH, ranged from 30.5 to 32.3 d for females and 27.1 to 29.5 d for males on the different field-collected fruit stages. Males and females had the highest emergent weight when reared as larvae on kimri fruit and the lowest on tamar fruit. Females laid the most eggs when reared on kimri fruit and the least when reared on tamar fruit. Estimates of population doubling times ranged from 5.4 d on artificial diet (included as a control) to 7.5 d on tamar fruit. This short doubling time shows the ability of carob moth to develop rapidly under optimal conditions. Degree-day (DD) estimates for carob moth development ranged from 636 DD on kimri fruit to 658 DD on tamar fruit, which translate to 32–50 d under field temperatures in the area where dates are grown. Potential implications for field management of E. ceratoniae include improved timing of insecticide treatments to limit population growth early in the season rather than the conventional late season approach.
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