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1 August 2000 Feeding Behavior of the Spittlebug Deois flavopicta (Homoptera: Cercopidae) on Wild and Cultivated Host Plants
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We studied the movement and feeding behavior of nymphs of the grass feeding spittlebug Deois flavopicta Stål to evaluate the role of host plant species on the spatial distribution of the nymphs. The inter- and intraplant foraging patterns of the nymphs contributed to their patchy distributions. The young nymphs, despite their weak motility, moved from the hatching spot and chose feeding sites. They tend to move less when host plants were present. Plant quality near hatching sites influenced the movement pattern of newly hatched nymphs. Egg densities at the oviposition sites did not influence the movement of newly hatched nymphs. The distribution of nymphs in relation to differences in host species and shoot age of host plant was studied in the field and in multiple choice experiments. Both young and old nymphs preferred plants of the introduced host in the genus Brachiaria over the native grass Axonopus marginatus (Trinius) Chase. The nymphs fed gregariously on buds and young shoots as first and second instars and in small groups of third, fourth, and fifth instars on old shoots of different sizes. These patterns of attack may be related to differences in tissue hardness or amino acid content between young and old shoots, and between host species. Nymphal survivorship was higher on B. ruziziensis, the preferred host plant. In addition, survivorship of newly hatched nymphs was higher on young buds and shoots compared with old shoots. The possible consequences of nymphal feeding behavior on population dynamics are discussed.
Carmen S. S. Pires, Peter W. Price, Edison R. Sujii and Cristiane Avelar "Feeding Behavior of the Spittlebug Deois flavopicta (Homoptera: Cercopidae) on Wild and Cultivated Host Plants," Environmental Entomology 29(4), (1 August 2000).
Received: 7 October 1998; Accepted: 1 April 2000; Published: 1 August 2000

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