The tropical sod webworm, Herpetogramma phaeopteralis Guenée is a major turfgrass pest in the southeastern United States. We evaluated larval development on five artificial diets and at six temperatures (15, 20, 25, 30, 32.5, 35 ± 1°C) on St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walter) Kuntze). Only larvae fed St. Augustinegrass and soy-wheat germ diets completed their lifecycles. None of the artificial diets tested (corn-based, soy-wheat germ, corn cob-wheat germ, corn cob-soy flour, or pinto bean) were suitable for rearing this species, because of high mortality and slower developmental time. Total developmental time (oviposition to adult) on S. secundatum significantly decreased from 47.8 d at 20°C to 21.1 d at 30°C, and then increased to 32.6 d at 32.5°C. Tropical sod webworm failed to complete larval development at 15 and 35°C. The relationship between temperature and developmental rate was described using linear (common and polynomial) and nonlinear models (Briere-1, Briere-2, and Lactin-2). The estimated lower temperature thresholds using a linear model for eggs, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth instars, prepupa, pupa, and total development were 10.1, 6.9, 12.3, 10.5, 15.3, 13.9, 9.1, 13.1, 12.0, and 13.1°C, and the thermal constant of these stages were 62.9, 66.2, 38.2, 40.3, 24.9, 32.3, 51.9,106.4,109.9, and 370.4 degree-days, respectively. The Briere-1 model provided the best fit with estimated lower, upper, and optimum thresholds for total development of 14.9, 34.3, and 29.4°C, respectively. The developmental requirements of H. phaeopteralis can be used to help predict the distribution and seasonal phenology of this pest.
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Vol. 105 • No. 5