Effects of host plant shift on life history and fitness of the kudzu bug Megacopta cribraria
Murphy, James Thomas
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The kudzu bug, Megacopta cribraria, is an introduced pest of leguminous plants that was first detected in the American southeast in 2009. Previous studies have sought to quantify the life history of this insect, but there is little insight in the literature concerning life history traits of the bivoltine population as it shifts hosts midsummer. Understanding the life history is essential to the control of any new invasive. This is especially true for M. cribraria as it is both an urban and agricultural pest in its introduced range. In a greenhouse study, we found that host plant and generation have an effect on life history parameters of kudzu bug (e.g. fecundity, body size, flight ability, and maternal oviposition choice). A subsequent field study demonstrated similar trends, indicating that oviposition and rearing on kudzu and soybean impact fitness differentially and influence distinct phenotypes during the annual active period of kudzu bug.