Leaves of the tropical legume Tephrosia candida DC deterred feeding by adults of the Diaprepes root weevil, Diaprepes abbreviatus (L.), compared with leaves of Citrus macrophylla Wester, a common citrus rootstock, or T. vogelii Hook. f. When larvae were placed in pots containing plants of the three species for 28 d in a growth chamber, larval survival and weight gain were significantly reduced in pots containing plants of T. candida compared with larvae in pots with C. macrophylla or T. vogelii. Diet incorporation of lyophilized roots of T. candida into an artificial diet increasingly inhibited the growth of larvae and increased larval mortality with increased concentration of roots, whereas roots from C. macrophylla or T. vogelii had no effect compared with the diet-only control. T. candida, but not T. vogelii, contains at least one constituent that acts as an antifeedant toward adult D. abbreviatus and as a toxicant toward larvae. No antifeedant effect of roots of T. candida toward larvae was observed in no-choice pot tests or in a diet incorporation bioassay. In pots, larval feeding damage to roots of T. candida was evident. In the diet incorporation assay, 97% of larvae survived 29 d on a diet of cellulose powder (a nutritionally inert filler) despite losing weight. We conclude that decreased survival and weight gain of larvae-fed fresh or lyophilized roots of T. candida were the result of ingestion of a toxicant and not deterrence from feeding.
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