Species diversity and distribution of lepidopteran stem borers in South Africa and Mozambique

Authors

  • J. Moolman,

    1. Unit of Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
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  • J. Van den Berg,

    Corresponding author
    1. Unit of Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
    • Correspondence

      J. Van den Berg (corresponding author), Unit of Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University,

      Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa. E-mail: johnnie.vandenberg@nwu.ac.za

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  • D. Conlong,

    1. South Sugarcane Research Institute, Private Bag X02, Mount Edgecombe, South Africa
    2. Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X01, Matieland, South Africa
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  • D. Cugala,

    1. Eduardo Mondlane University, Faculty of Agronomy and Forest Engineering, Maputo, Mozambique
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  • S. Siebert,

    1. Unit of Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
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  • B. Le Ru

    1. IRD, UR072, Laboratoire Evolution, Génomes et Spéciation (LEGS), UPR 9034, CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
    2. ICIPE, Nairobi, Kenya
    3. Université Paris-Sud 11, Orsay Cedex, France
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Abstract

Country-wide surveys of lepidopteran stem borers in wild host plants were undertaken between 2006 and 2009 in South Africa and 2005 and 2010 in Mozambique. A total of 4438 larvae were collected from 65 wild host plants in South Africa and 1920 larvae from 30 wild host plants in Mozambique. In South Africa and Mozambique, 50 and 39 stem borer species were recovered, respectively, with four new species and two new genera among noctuids. Less than 5% of the total number of species collected are considered to be economically important in Africa. These species were Busseola fusca (Fuller) (Noctuidae), Chilo partellus (Swinhoe) (Crambidae) and Sesamia calamistis Hampson (Noctuidae). Data from this study and others in East Africa on the very low abundance of stem borers in wild host plants question the putative role of wild host plants as reservoir for stem borer pests. One new host plant family (Prioniaceae), as well as 24 and 13 wild hosts from South Africa and Mozambique respectively, was added to the list of known hosts in Africa.

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