Because of variations in insect populations and staggered flowering of chickpea, Cicer arietinum L., genotypes, it is difficult to compare the genotypic performance across seasons and locations. We standardized a cage technique to screen chickpeas for resistance to Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner). Leaf feeding by the larvae was significantly lower on ICC 506 than on ICCC 37 when the seedlings were infested with 20 neonates per five plants at 15 d after seedling emergence or 10 neonates per three plants at the flowering stage. Maximum differences in pod damage were observed when the plants were infested with six third-instar larvae per three plants in the greenhouse, and with eight larvae per plant under field conditions. Larval weights were significantly lower on ICC 506 than on ICCC 37 across growth stages and infestation levels. At the podding stage, percentage of reduction in grain yield was significantly greater on ICCC 37 and Annigeri than on ICCV 2 and ICC 506. The no-choice test can be used to screen segregating breeding material and mapping populations for resistance to H. armigera. It also provides useful information on antibiosis mechanism of resistance to H. armigera.
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Vol. 98 • No. 1