oa Journal of the Entomological Society of Southern Africa - An adaptation to overwintering in the potato tuber moth, Phthorimaea operculella (Zeller) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae)



The potato tuber moth, Phthorimaea operculella (Zeller), does not undergo diapause in South Africa. During winter a single generation develops very slowly in potatoes left behind in the fields after harvesting. The pupal periods of overwintering larvae were longer than normal. Pupal period collected in September was normal. The cause of the extended pupal period is obviously exposure of larvae to winter temperatures. Its effect is to delay the emergence of adults until volunteer potato plants are present for the spring generation to develop on. Without it, few or none of this generation would survive.


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