Host plant feeding preference is important basic information for the development of insect management strategies. Multiple-choice feeding preference assays were conducted in the laboratory for the chrysomelid beetle, Microtheca punctigera (Achard). Feeding was assessed 72 h after onset of experiments. With one larva per Petri dish, food items comprised watercress, Nasturtium officinale L., arugula, Eruca sativa L., mustard, Brassica juncea Cosson, Chinese cabbage, B. pekinensis (Lour.) Rupr. and wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum L.). Feeding ranking preferences were Chinese cabbage, mustard, wild radish, arugula and watercress (7.97, 1.85, 0.98, 0.36 and 0.11 mm², respectively). Feeding on Chinese cabbage was 4.31 times more intense than on mustard. The same experiment was repeated with one adult per dish. Responses of males and females were quite similar. Feeding was higher on mustard (87.2 and 142.8 for males and females, respectively). Feeding on arugula (51.5 and 132.7) and Chinese cabbage (51.8 and 89.0) were intermediate. Watercress (22.96 and 39.3) and wild radish (12.03 and 28.4) were the least preferred host plants. In a third experiment, ten larvae per dish were used and spinach, Tetragonia expansa Murr., radish, Raphanus sativus L. and collard, B. oleracea var. acephala L., were also included. Daily larval frequencies on each food were also measured. Feeding was similar on Chinese cabbage and mustard (47.89 and 53.78, respectively). Number of insects was greater on mustard, Chinese cabbage and wild radish. Probable explanations for results and proposals for further investigations are discussed.
Brassicaceae; insecta; host plants; consumption