The sugarcane borer, Diatraea saccharalis (F.), is a pest of a variety of graminaceous crops in the southern United States, including sugarcane, maize, and rice in Louisiana. This study examined several aspects of D. saccharalis oviposition behavior on rice (Oryza sativa). The vertical distribution of egg masses on four phenological stages of rice in the field showed that D. saccharalis prefers to oviposit on the uppermost portions of rice plants, regardless of plant stage. In greenhouse choice experiments, females strongly preferred plants at the boot and panicle differentiation stages over plants at the tillering stage for oviposition. Greenhouse studies were also conducted to quantify the oviposition preference of D. saccharalis for different cultivars of. When plants were at the tillering stage, cultivars Cocodrie, Priscilla, Bengal, Cheniere, and CL161 were more preferred than cultivars Jupiter, XL723, and XP744. When plants reached the panicle initiation stage, cultivars Cocodrie, CL161, and Priscilla were more preferred than Bengal, Cheniere, Jupiter, XL723, and XP744. Females also oviposited significantly more egg masses on the adaxial surfaces of rice leaves than on the abaxial surfaces. These results will facilitate scouting and management of sugarcane borer and can be used as a foundation for the development of sugarcane borer resistant cultivars.
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