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28 December 2022 The Spodoptera frugiperda Host Strains: What They Are and Why They Matter for Understanding and Controlling This Global Agricultural Pest
Rodney N. Nagoshi, Robert L. Meagher
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Abstract

Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda [J.E. Smith]) is a moth native to the Western Hemisphere where it is a major pest of corn (maize) and multiple other crops. It is now a global threat with its recent discovery and dissemination in the Eastern Hemisphere. Its broad host range is in part due to two subpopulations denoted as ‘host strains’ that differ in host plant specificity. Therefore, identifying the strains present in a location is critical to assessing what crops are at risk of infestation. However, much remains uncertain about how the strains differ and even on the fundamental issue of how they are identified. Complicating factors include the host strains are morphologically indistinguishable, the defining behavior of the strains (host plant specificity) is variable, and the existence of significant differences between geographical populations and laboratory colonies that are independent of strain identity. These factors contribute to substantial disagreements in the literature on presumptive strain differences. This paper presents a summary of strain characteristics and suggests the criteria that should be met before concluding a trait is ‘strain-specific’. The intent is to facilitate a common understanding of what the strains represent and to develop a more consistent experimental framework for studies on strain phenotypes. Evidence is summarized that supports a primary role for Z-linked genes in strain identity, which has potential implications for genetic approaches to define the strains, and we discuss the possibility that the strains arose from allopatric (rather than sympatric) speciation processes.

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America 2022. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.
Rodney N. Nagoshi and Robert L. Meagher "The Spodoptera frugiperda Host Strains: What They Are and Why They Matter for Understanding and Controlling This Global Agricultural Pest," Journal of Economic Entomology 115(6), 1729-1743, (28 December 2022). https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/toac050
Received: 24 January 2022; Accepted: 14 March 2022; Published: 28 December 2022
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KEYWORDS
host race
host strain
maize
speciation
Spodoptera frugiperda
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