• Capsella bursa-pastoris;
  • crucifers;
  • Erysimum cheiranthoides;
  • insect–plant interactions;
  • Sinapis arvensis


The diamondback moth Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae) is an important pest of cultivated brassicaceous crops worldwide. The host plant preferences, developmental biology and survival and longevity of P. xylostella are relatively well understood on commercial crop species; however, its relationship with brassicaceous weeds is poorly known. Sinapis arvensis L., Erysimum cheiranthoides L. and Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medicus are among the most common brassicaceous weeds worldwide and can serve as important bridge hosts of P. xylostella. In this study, preference and performance of P. xylostella were compared on these weed species. In free-choice situations, females deposited 5.5 and 18.8 times more eggs on S. arvensis than on E. cheiranthoides and C. bursa-pastoris, respectively. Survival from neonate to pupa and from pupa to adult was highest on S. arvensis and E. cheiranthoides and lowest on C. bursa-pastoris. Development was fastest, foliage consumption was greatest, pupae and silk cocoons were heaviest, adult body masses and longevities were highest and forewings were largest for both females and males when reared as larvae on S. arvensis. Realized fecundity of new generation adults was highest for individuals reared on S. arvensis compared to those reared on E. cheiranthoides or C. bursa-pastoris. Relative growth rates of pupae and adults were highest on S. arvensis, suggesting that this plant species is a high-quality host for P. xylostella compared with other species tested. Potential impacts of these wild brassicaceous species on P. xylostella populations are discussed.