Onion thrips, Thrips tabaci Lindeman (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), is an important pest on onion and cabbage. Two reproductive modes—arrhenotoky and thelytoky—are found in this species and co-occur in the field. We compared life table traits between arrhenotokous and thelytokous T. tabaci on cabbage and onion. Experiments were conducted in cages to determine which reproductive mode is more competitive. Additionally, host adaption of the arrhenotokous and thelytokous T. tabaci between onion and cabbage was investigated. On onion, arrhenotokous T. tabaci performed better than thelytokous T. tabaci, while on cabbage the opposite occurred. When comparing life table and demographic growth parameters (net reproductive rates R0, mean generation time T, the intrinsic rate of natural increase rm, finite rate of increase λ, and population doubling time Td) on different host plants, we found that arrhenotokous T. tabaci performed better on onion than on cabbage, whereas thelytokous T. tabaci performed better on cabbage than on onion. Host-related performance differences in this species suggest that the divergence between two reproductive modes might be associated with host adaption. Pest management strategies for this global pest should recognize that the two reproductive modes can impact population dynamics on different crops.
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Vol. 107 • No. 4