Knowledge of the life cycle of Hemijana variegata is important for sustainable utilization of this edible insect. The fecundity and survival of H. variegata were investigated under ambient conditions in the laboratory. Eggs were laid in clutches of between 180 and 490 eggs per clutch, and took an average of 8.45 days to hatch. Hemijana variegata has five larval instars. The first-instar larvae are unable to feed on older leaves, thus survival of the larvae requires that hatching be synchronized with leaf emergence of the host plant in the field. The duration of the pupal stage varied between 32 days and more than 119 days. This wide variation may be an adaptation to annual climatic fluctuations such as years with no rain or late rainfall. This strategy might ensure their survival in areas where droughts are often experienced. The larvae had the highest mortality rate, followed by the pupae and then the eggs, with survivorship rates of 30.12 % (larvae), 63.98 % (pupae) and 98.67 % (eggs). Pupal survivorship could be higher, as 24 % of the pupae had not emerged after two years when the experiment was terminated.
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Vol. 23 • No. 2