FIELD TO LABORATORY STUDIES ON INFESTATION, DAMAGE, DEVELOPMENT AND METAMORPHOSIS BY LEUCINODES ORBONALIS GUENÉE (LEPIDOPTERA: PYRALIDAE) USING SIX VARIETIES OF EGGPLANT
Field-to-laboratory studies on the infestation, damage, development and metamorphosis by Leucinodes orbonalis Guenée (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) were carried out using six varieties of eggplants in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria under laboratory mean temperature and relative humidity conditions of 29.8 oC and 78.1 %, respectively. Four local government areas (Etche, Khana, Obio-Akpor and Oyigbo) important for eggplant growing were surveyed for L. orbonalis infestation. Four local eggplant varieties (gauta green, yallow big white, yallow white oval and yallow white oval with green stripe) and two exotic varieties (barbentane and F1 African beauty) were used for the field and laboratory studies. The varieties were differentiated into two species, Solanium aethiopicum and S. melongena. Field experiment using a land area of 72 m2 was laid out in a randomized complete block design with three replications while the laboratory experiment was arranged in a completely randomized design on workbenches with three replications. Results showed that the African eggplant (S. aethiopicum) farms in the local government areas investigated were infested with L. orbonalis. The indigenous and exotic varieties studied were not resistant to the insect pest infestation. There is need to develop L. orbonalis resistant eggplant varieties. Results of the metamorphosis of the eggplant fruit and shoot borer under humid tropical conditions in Rivers State, Nigeria agreed with the information in literature; in addition, the present study has revealed that pupation in cocoons off the fruits observed, has implications for the use of non-chemical control methods against the pest.