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Keywords:

  • Conopomorpha cramerella;
  • Gracillariidae;
  • Trichogrammatoidea bactrae fumata;
  • insect-plant interaction;
  • resistance

Abstract

The effects of pod age on oviposition, and on egg and larval survival of the cocoa pod borer (CPB), Conopomorpha cramerella (Snellen), were investigated. CPB were allowed to oviposit on a batch of 50 pods for a period of 7 days over several exposure dates. Numbers of CPB eggs/pod and survival to larval emergence from the pods were recorded. Pods were harvested when ripe and analyzed for larval survival within the pod. The oviposition pattern varied with pod age. Older pods less than 7 weeks before ripening (WBR) were preferred, suggesting greater nutritional value or chemical attraction of the older pods. The proportion of eggs parasitized by Trichogrammatoidea bactrae fumata Nagaraja (TBF), the number of eggs lost and the proportion surviving to larval emergence from the pod were independent of pod age. Egg parasitism was low, implying that TBF was not an effective natural enemy. Mass-releases of TBF should be intensified during cropping periods with higher proportions of susceptible pods (<10 WBR). Survival of larvae in the presclerotic layer (preSCL) was high and independent of pod age. Larval mortality at the SCL (sclerotic layer) was dependent on pod age and was high in older pods. Larval density influenced the survival of larvae inside the pod and was dependent on pod age. Larval mortality associated with SCL hardness and thickness is one of the criteria for the selection of CPB resistant cocoa clones.