Host plant specificity depends on recognition of the host and the ability to discriminate it from nonhost plants. Chilo suppressalis (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), an important insect pest of rice, is considered to be polyphagous, although few papers have ever reported infestation of C. suppressalis on most of the recorded hosts. The present investigation was designed to test whether two important gramineous crops, wheat and corn, are host plants of C. suppressalis based on the host-plant finding process in cage and Y-tube olfactometer tests, oviposition and egg hatching, and larval feeding and survival. In the cage tests, gravid C. suppressalis females did not differentiate rice plants from wheat or corn plants when only visual cues were involved, but were more attracted to rice plants when only olfactory cues or both vision and olfaction were present. The Y-tube olfactometer tests further confirmed that the females did not prefer wheat or corn plants, and revealed that they responded equally to clean air and odors from wheat or corn plants. Under no-choice and choice condition alike, the females laid eggs on a lower proportion of wheat and corn plants and egg number and hatching rate were significantly reduced on wheat and/or corn plants than on rice plants. Larval feeding was not observed in wheat and lower in corn than in rice plants, and no pupae or surviving larvae were collected from wheat and corn plants. The results suggest that wheat and corn are not host plants of C. suppressalis. These findings are discussed in context of host-finding process in C. suppressalis and management of resistance to transgenic Bt rice.
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