If a novel, resistant host-plant genotype arises in the environment, insect populations utilising that host must be able to overcome that resistance in order that they can maintain their ability to feed on that host. The ability to evolve resistance to host-plant defences depends upon additive genetic variation in larval performance and adult host-choice preference. To investigate the potential of a generalist herbivore to respond to a novel resistant host, we estimated the heritability of larval performance in the noctuid moth, Helicoverpa armigera, on a resistant and a susceptible variety of the chickpea, Cicer arietinum, at two different life stages. Heritability estimates were higher for neonates than for third-instar larvae, suggesting that their ability to establish on plants could be key to the evolution of resistance in this species; however, further information regarding the nature of selection in the field would be required to confirm this prediction. There was no genetic correlation between larval performance and oviposition preference, indicating that female moths do not choose the most suitable plant for their offspring. We also found significant genotype by environment interactions for neonates (but not third-instar larvae), suggesting that the larval response to different plant genotypes is stage-specific in this species.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)