Thirteen plant species were tested for their suitability as hosts for Abagrotis orbis (Grote), a climbing cutworm pest of grapevines in British Columbia. Choice tests were also conducted to investigate larval feeding preferences for the Brassicaceae species joi choi, Brassica rapa variety. Chinensis L., spring draba; Draba verna L.; and shepherd's purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik; compared with postdormant buds of grape, Vitis vinifera L. (Vitaceae), and leaves of nine other plant species from several families. Results showed that tah tsai, Brassica rapa L. variety rosularis (M. Tsen & S. H. Lee) Hanelt (Brassicaceae), is a superior host for A. orbis based on shorter time to adult eclosion, heavier pupae, and higher rates of survival. Later-instar larvae died when fed draba, whereas those reared on shepherd's purse did not survive beyond the third instar. White clover, Trifolium repens L. (Fabaceae), and grape leaves were unsuitable hosts throughout development. Fifth-instar A. orbis preferred plants of the Brassicaceae family, dandelion, Taraxacum officinale Weber (Asteraceae), and strawberry, Fragaria sp. L. (Bosaceae), compared with postdormant grape buds. The results of this study suggest that the winter annual mustards draba and shepherd's purse that often grow abundantly in vine rows might help reduce climbing cutworm damage to the buds of grapevines.
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Vol. 40 • No. 6