We studied and modeled damage caused by Helicoverpa armigera larvae on cotton with the aim of developing a coupled crop pest model. Two damage components were studied: the voracity (quantity of fresh matter and number of organs consumed) and feeding preferences (type of organ infested). The laboratory no-choice study of voracity on excised squares and bolls revealed that an H. armigera larva consumes 2,856 mg of fresh matter throughout its larval life, with the sixth instar consuming 86% of this quantity. This consumption rate corresponded to 23.6 squares, or 7.8 bolls. We developed equations to predict the quantity of fresh matter uptake from an individual plant organ, according to the organ mass and the larval instar. The field study of feeding preference confirmed previous findings that larvae prefer squares to bolls, with this preference decreasing as the larval age increases. However, no significant relationship was noted between the age of larvae and the size of infested organs within each organ class (square or boll). We developed a logistic model to predict the probability of a larva infesting a boll rather than a square. According to this model, the relative organ availability in the field and the larval instar were found to be significant factors.
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