An Overview of Tobacco Cutworm

Published: 2021-09-11 19:25:09
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Category: Learning, Zoology

Type of paper: Essay

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Tobacco cutworm, Spodoptera litura Fabricius (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is an economically important polyphagous, multivoltine lepidopterous pest which is widely distributed throughout the world including India, China, Japan and other countries of Southeast Asia. It is noxious pest which is found to have deleterious effects on cauliflower, mash, moong, cabbage, soybean, sunflower, arm, castor and cotton. It is traditionally a pest of cauliflower and cabbage crops in Punjab. It was found severely ravaging cauliflower and cabbage crops in Punjab over the years, because these have been cultivated more intensively. It minimizes the photosynthetic activity of cauliflower crop by skeletonizing the leaves, thus defaces the crop. S. litura causes economic losses to crops ranging from 25.8 to 100 per cent depending on crop stage and its infestation level in the field. Continuous cropping of summer crops and vegetables provides food for the larvae and the pupae do not aestivate in extreme temperatures.
Due to the presence of this pest on different crops throughout the year they have been widely exposed to insecticides. So, the application of insecticides is still one of the imperative methods to inhibit the outbreak of this pest. This is second agricultural pest, which have developed resistance in India and ranks among the top 20 most resistant insect species. It has developed resistance to many commonly used insecticides including organochlorines, organophosphates, carbamates, pyrethroids and Bacillus thuringienesis. Thus, the management of agricultural pests has been largely dependent on the use of synthetic chemical pesticides over the past half century for field and post-harvest protection of crops. The mechanism of insecticide resistance to insects are of three types i.e. biochemical, physiological and behavioural. Insects have evolved a variety of physiological and behavioral responses to various toxins in natural and managed ecosystems. Some insects are capable of changing their behavior in response to their sensory perception of insecticides. In the past, though much work has been done on the biochemical aspects of resistance, but very less attention has been paid to understand the role of behavior, especially locomotory behavior in the development of resistance in a target species. In fact, it plays a crucial role in resistance development. Role of behavioral response in the evolution of insecticide resistance deserves great attention. Biochemical mechanisms of insecticide resistance have been studied very well and recognized and there is an excellent base of information concerning biochemical/ physiological resistance mechanisms. But mechanism of behavioral resistance is least studied and understood in pest management, though its role in the insecticide resistance may be as important as of biochemical mechanisms.
The role of behavior of an insect is crucial to understanding of insect adaptation to toxins especially the locomotory behavior. In fact, this understanding is important in preventing development of insecticide resistance in pest populations. All this has necessitated the need of a comprehensive study of locomotory behavioral physiology of S. litura to determine variations between its susceptible and insecticide resistant populations of S. litura as regards various parameters of locomotion. This knowledge may help to find management solution to S. litura.

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