oa African Entomology - Life history and host range of the leopard magpie moth, Zerenopsis leopardina Felder (Lepidoptera: Geometridae)

Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-3589



Zerenopsis leopardina Felder has been recorded from host plant species in two families of Cycadales and three families of Angiospermae. The host range is unusual in its composition and range for an aposematic insect that appears to sequester methylazoxymethanol (MAM) or its glycosides from cycad tissues. Studies in the field and under controlled conditions confirmed that Z. leopardina occurs on both cycads and angiosperms. Oviposition, and feeding by first to third instar larvae, occurred only on the young leaves of cycad hosts. Few first instar larvae reared on angiosperm hosts survived. Fourth to sixth instar larvae were found on both cycads and angiosperms and there were no significant differences in survival and developmental rate of fourth instar larvae reared on cycad or angiosperm hosts. It is apparent that Z. leopardina is specific to cycads in its early larval instars but that both cycads and angiosperms may be used by late instar larvae. An explanation is provided for the possible relationship between the larval host range and the life history of Z. Ieopardina.

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