This study determined the number of spittlebug adults, Mahanarva spectabilis Distant (Hemiptera: Cercopidae), that should be used in selection tests of the forage grass, Brachiaria ruziziensis (Germain and Evrard). In this study, 0, 1, 2, 4, or 8 M. spectabilis adults were kept in plants for 4 or 8 d per experimental plot. After these periods, the insects were removed from the plants and chlorophyll content, damage score, dry weight, fresh weight, and percent dry matter of shoots were evaluated. Chlorophyll content decreased significantly with higher density of M. spectabilis in plants exposed to the pest for 4 or 8 d. Plants that were exposed to eight spittlebugs for 8 d showed a ≈60% loss of chlorophyll content. When the forage was infested with eight adults for 4 d, the average damage score was 3 (50% of the leaf area was affected). The damage score and fresh and dry weights of the forage did not change depending on the exposure time of the plants to the spittlebugs. The percentage of dry matter of the plants infested was higher with the increase insect density and exposure time for all densities. Thus, the minimum recommended number is eight M. spectabilis adults for 4 d in resistance tests of B. ruziziensis to this pest species.
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