Plant Traits in Fig as Indicators of Resistance to Shoot Borer, Dyscerus? Fletcheri Marshall (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

P. D. Kamala Jayanthi, Abraham Verghese, R. Chittiraichelvan, Ravindra Kumar


A comparative study was conducted on fig (Ficus carica L.) cultivars Deanna and Poona to test whether antixenosis due to plant traits was at least partially responsible for a differential susceptibility to the shoot boring curculionid weevil, Dyscerus? fletcheri. Field evaluation revealed significant difference in borer incidence in cvs. Poona (6.25%) and Deanna (75%). Further, traits of plant architecture such as number of primary/ secondary/ terminal shoots, plant vigour and density of terminal shoots were significantly higher in cv. Deanna, which was highly susceptible to shoot borer. However, latex-flow index was significantly higher in cv. Poona that was resistant to the borer. A step-wise multiple regression analysis revealed that the tested plant traits explained 60% of the total variation in stem borer infestation (y=-0.96-0.02x1+0.23x2-0.03x3+0.24x4+1.28x5-1.31x6, R2=0.60) in the susceptible cultivar, Deanna. Role of these traits in preference/non-preference of D. fletcheri for a cultivar is discussed.


Fig, Ficus carica L., Resistance, Cultivars, Stem Borer, Dyscerus? Fletcheri.

Full Text:



Agostid’no R.B and Stephens M.A. 1986. Goodness of Fit Techniques. Marcel Dekker, New York

Bernays, E.A. 1989. Host range in phytophagous insects: the potential role of generalist predators. Evol. Ecol., 3:299-311

Bernays, E.A. and Chapman, R.F. 1994. Host-plant selection by phytophagous insects. Chapman and Hall, London, UK

Briese, D.T. and Walker, A. 2002. A new perspective on the selection of test plants for evaluating the hostspecificity of weed biological control agents: the case of Deuterocampta quadrijuga, a potential insect control agent of Heliotropium amplexicaule. Biol. Control, 25:273–287

Butani, D.K. 1979. Insects and Fruits. Periodical Expert Book Agency, New Delhi

Buttery, B.R. and Boatman, S.G. 1976. Water deficits and flow of latex. In: T.T. Kozlowski (ed.). Water Deficits and Plant Growth, Vol. IV. Academic Press, New York, pp. 233-289

Craig, T.P., Itami, J.K. and Price, P.W. 1989. A strong relationship between oviposition preference and larval performance in a shootgalling sawfly. Ecol., 70:1691– 1699

Crawford, K.M., Crutsinger, G.M. and Sanders, N.J. 2007. Host-plant genotypic diversity mediates the distribution of an ecosystem engineer. Ecol., 88:2114–2120

Diego Carmona, Marc J. Lajeunesse and Marc T.J. Johnson. 2011. Evolutionary ecology of plant defences: Plant traits that predict resistance to herbivores. Funct. Ecol., 25:358-367

Dussourd, D.E. 1993. Foraging with finesse: Caterpillar adaptations for circumventing plant defenses. In: N.E. Stamp and T. Casey (eds). Caterpillars: Ecological and evolutionary constraints on foraging. Chapman and Hall, New York, pp. 92-131

Dussourd, D.E. 1995. Entrapment of aphids and whiteflies in lettuce latex. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Amer., 88:163172

Dussourd, D.E. and T. Eisner. 1987. Vein-cutting behavior: Insect counterploy to the latex defense of plants. Science, 237:898-901

Ernest, K.A. 1989. Insect herbivory on a tropical understory tree: effects of leaf age and habitat. Biotropica, 21:194-199

Fritz, R.S., Crabb, B.A. and Hochwender, C.G. 2003. Preference and performance of a gall-inducing sawfly: plant vigor, sex, gall traits and phenology. Oikos, 102:601–613

Halten, J., Niemi, L., Wennstrom, A., Ericson, L., Roininen, H. and Julkunen-Tiitto, R. 2007. Variable responses of natural enemies to Salix triandra phenotypes with different secondary chemistry. Oikos, 116:751-758

Horner, J.D. and Abrahamson, W.G. 1992. Influence of plant genotype and environment in oviposition preference and offspring survival in a gall-making herbivore. Oecologia, 90:323-332

Jaenike, J. 1990. Host specialization in phytophagous insects. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 21:243-273

Kamala Jayanthi, P.D., Abraham Verghese and Chittiraichelvan, R. 2015. Evidence of expanded host and geographic range of curculionid weevil, Dyscerus? fletcheri Marshall (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) (in press)

Karban, R., Agrawal, A.A. and Mangel, M. 1997. The benefits of induced defenses against herbivores. Ecol., 78:1351-1355

Little, T.M. and Hills, F.J. 1978. Agricultural experimentation design and analysis. John Wiley & Sons, New York

Lower, S.S., Kirshenbaum, S. and Orians, C.M. 2003. Preference and performance of a willow-feeding leaf beetle: soil nutrient and flooding effects on host quality. Oecologia, 136:402-411

Mooibroek, H. and Cornish, K. 2000. Alternative sources of natural rubber. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol,. 53:355-365

Mutikainen, P., Walls, M., Ovaska, J., Keinanen, M., Julkunen-Tiitto, R. and Vapaavuori, E. 2000. Herbivore resistance in Betula pendula: effect of fertilization, defoliation and plant genotype. Ecol., 81:49–65

Price, P.W. 1991. The plant vigor hypothesis and herbivore attack. Oikos, 62:244–251

Price, P.W. and Hunter, M.D. 2005. Long-term population dynamics of a sawfly show strong bottom-up effects. J. Anim. Ecol., 74:917-925

Osier, T.L. and Lindroth, R.L. 2006. Genotype and environment determine allocation to and costs of resistance in quaking aspen. Oecologia, 148:293– 303

Ryan, T.P. 1997. Modern Regression Methods. John Wiley and Sons. Inc., New York. 515 p.

Verghese, A. Nagaraju, D.K., Kamala Jayanthi, P.D. and Jalikop, S.H. 2003. Incidence of Aclees (?) cribratus Gyllenhal (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) on different varieties of fig. Insect Env., 9:34-35

Verghese, A., Nagaraju, D.K., Jayanthi, P.D.K. and Jalikop, S.H. 2001. Varietal response of fig (Ficus carica L.) to Batrocera rufomaculata (De Geer). Insect Env., 7:100-101

Tommi, N., Ria Paajanen, Susanne Heisk, A. and Rittajulkunen Tiitto. 2011. Preference-performance relationship in the gall midge, Rabdophaga rosaria: insights from a common garden experiment with nine willow clones. Ecol. Entomol., 36:200-211

Zalucki, M.P., L.P. Brower and A. Alongo-Mejia. 2001a. Detrimental effects of latex and cardiac glycocides on survival and growth of first-instar Danaus plexippus feeding on the sandhill milkweed, Asclepias humistratea. Ecol. Entomol., 26:212-224

Zalucki, M.P., Malcolm, S.B., Paine, T.D., Hanlon, C.C., Brower, I.P. and Clarke, A.R. 2001b. It’s the first bites that count: survival of first-instar monarchs on milkweeds. Aust. Ecol., 26:547-555

Copyright (c) 2016 Journal of Horticultural Science