Epiphyas postvittana (Walker) (light-brown apple moth) is a polyphagous herbivore of economic significance, which also feeds on Vitis vinifera L. The E. postvittana—V. vinifera interacting system also involves the participation of the fungus Botrytis cinerea Persoon ex Fries. We have been exploring the relationship among E. postvittana—V. vinifera—B. cinerea over the past two years. In this article, we report the preference and performance of the larvae of E. postvittana raised solely on a synthetic diet incorporated with the mycelial material of B. cinerea (Diet B). To characterize the effect of fungus on the development of E. postvittana, another synthetic diet was prepared that included the lyophilized leaf material of V. vinifera (Diet C). When raised on Diets B and C, a decrease in the duration of larval development and an increase in the survival and fecundity rate of E. postvittana occurred. Diet B influenced the pupal mass, but a significant increase occurred when the larvae were fed on Diet C. The larval emergence rate was the greatest in E. postvittana raised on Diet B, followed by those on Diet C. The F2 generation of the larvae reared on Diet B showed similar effects as F1 on the life-history performance of the larvae. Diet B enhanced the life-history performance of E. postvittana, although the larvae of E. postvittana showed little preference to Diet B. The greater fertility rate of E. postvittana reared on Diet B suggests the importance of sterols as shown in Lobesia botrana (Denis & Schiffermüller) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) and in a few Myrmicinae (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), which serve as precursors to different ecdysteroids that regulate many critical processes through embryonic development.
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Vol. 108 • No. 4