Lymantria xylina Swinhoe (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae) is a serious defoliator of hardwood and fruit trees in Taiwan. The larvae of L. xylina feed on >63 species of host plants, belonging to 29 families. Because a large number of larvae are needed for the production of nucleopolyhedrosis virus (NPV) or other related studies, the development of a suitable artificial diet is very important for the mass rearing of this moth in the laboratory. In this study, eight artificial diets, modified from different formulas, and one host plant, Liquidambar formosana Hance, were used to feed L. xylina caterpillars. Through various bioassays (first instar survival trial and long- and short-term feeding trials), the most suitable diet for the L. xylina was selected by performance comparisons with L. formosana. After the first instar survival trial, two of the diets were discarded, because no larva survived on these diets. The results of the long-term feeding trial indicated that the larvae grew successfully on only three kinds of artificial diet. Finally, results of the short-term feeding trial revealed that a diet (diet A), modified from the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar (L.), formula diet, was the most appropriate for the L. xylina. Larvae fed on diet A had better survival rate, pupal weight, adult size, efficiency of conversion, and relative growth rate than larvae fed on other diets; they did not grow as well as those fed on L. formosana, however, except for pupal and adult weight, and approximate digestibility. In summary, diet A was found to be the best of the artificial diets for the L. xylina and is suitable for mass rearing of this moth in the laboratory.
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Vol. 99 • No. 3