Baculovirus biopesticides are an important component of integrated pest management programmes worldwide. One such example is the Cryptophlebia leucotreta granulovirus (CrleGV) which is used for the control of false codling moth, Thaumatotibia (= Cryptophlebia) leucotreta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), a pest of citrus and other crops in South Africa. A potential problem associated with constant application of viral biopesticides is the differing susceptibility to the virus observed between different geographic populations of the insect host. This could be related to a number of factors, including biological performance and fitness of the target insect population. This study compared a variety of phenotypic traits between geographically distinct T. leucotreta populations collected from the Addo, Marble Hall, Citrusdal and Nelspruit regions of South Africa, and reared under laboratory conditions for several generations. Traits including pupal mass, female fecundity, egg hatch, pupal survival, adult eclosion and developmental time were used as parameters to measure biological performance and fitness. Insects from the Citrusdal region of the Western Cape exhibited significantly lower pupal mass, female fecundity, egg hatch, pupal survival, adult eclosion and the longest duration in larval and pupal development compared to the other colonies investigated. This is the first study to report differences in the performance of laboratory reared T. leucotreta from different geographic locations, and the findings may have important implications for the application of viral biopesticides for the control of this pest in South Africa.
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Vol. 22 • No. 3