In the absence of high levels of resistance to Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) in the cultivated germplasm of chickpea, we evaluated accessions of Cicer spp. mostly Cicer reticulatum Ladzinsky, for resistance to this important pest. Under multichoice conditions in the field, 10 accessions showed lower leaf damage and lower numbers of eggs, larvae, or both of H. armigera. Of these, IG 69960, IG 72934, and IG 72936 showed significantly lower leaf feeding than the cultivated genotypes or other accessions at the vegetative and reproductive stages. Larval weight was lower or comparable with that on C. bijugum (IG 70019) and C. judaicum (IG 70032) in C. reticulatum accessions IG 72933, IG 72934, IG 72936, and IG 72953 at the seedling stage and on IG 69960 and IG 72934 at the flowering stage. The accessions showing resistance to H. armigera in the field and laboratory conditions were placed in different groups, indicating the presence of diversity in C. reticulatum accessions for resistance to this pest. Less than seven larvae survived on IG 70020, IG 72940, IG 72948, and IG 72949, and IG 72964 compared with 12 on ICC 506. Larval and total developmental periods were prolonged by 6–15 and 3–8 d, respectively, on C. reticultatum accessions compared with those on ICCC 37. Less than five larvae pupated on the C. reticulatum accessions (except IG 72958 and ICC 17163) compared with 11 in ICCC 37. Accessions showing lower leaf feeding and adverse effects on the survival and development can be used in increasing the levels and diversifying the basis of resistance to H. armigera in chickpea.
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