Selecting insect-resistant plant varieties is a key component of integrated management programs of oligophagous pests such as diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), but rigorous research on important life history parameters of P. xylostella in relation to host plant resistance is rare. We evaluated six conventional brassicaceous species, namely, Brassica napus L. ‘Q2’, B. rapa L., B. juncea (L.) Czern., B. carinata L., B. oleracea L., and Sinapis alba L., and two herbicide-tolerant cultivars, namely, B. napus ‘Liberty’ and B. napus ‘Conquest’ for their resistance against P. xylostella. Brassicaceae species and cultivars varied considerably in their susceptibilities as hosts for P. xylostella. Sinapis alba and B. rapa plants were highly preferred by ovipositing females and trichome density on adaxial and abaxial leaf surfaces had nonsignificant effects on P. xylostella oviposition. Larval survival was similar on the genotypes we tested, but host plants significantly affected larval and pupal developmental time, herbivory, pupal weight, silk weight, adult body weight, forewing area and longevity (without food) of both male and female P. xylostella. Larval and pupal development of females was fastest on B. juncea and S. alba, respectively. Specimens reared on B. napus Liberty and B. oleracea, respectively, produced the lightest female and male pupae. Defoliation by both female and male larvae was highest on B. rapa, whereas least herbivory occurred on S. alba. Females reared on S. alba were heavier and lived longer in the absence of food than their counterparts raised on other tested host plants. Brassica oleracea could not compensate for larval feeding to the level of the other species we evaluated. B. napus Conquest, B. napus Q2, B. carinata, B. rapa, and S. alba produced, respectively, 1.6-, 1.8-, 1.8-, 3.9-, and 5.5-fold heavier root systems when infested than their uninfested counterparts, suggesting that these species were better able to tolerate P. xylostella infestations.
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Vol. 100 • No. 1