The Contribution of food plants to the growth, development and fecundity of Zonocerus variegatus (L)
AbstractThe performance of the variegated grasshopper, Zonocerus variegatus (L) fed on different food plants namely cassava (Manihot esculenta), pawpaw (Carica papaya) and acalypha (Acalypha wilkesiana) and a mixture of these plants (mixed diets) from 5th nymphal instar to adult was investigated. Survivor and longevity of nymphs and as well as the reproductive performance of adult Zonocerus was greater and better for insect fed on cassava and mixed diets, as compared to those fed only on Acalypha and pawpaw. Adults emerged between the 5th to 16th week in cages containing 5th instars fed on cassava and mixed diets, while it took between 7-23 weeks for those fed on acalypha and pawpaw to emerge as adult. There were significant differences in the measurements of the body parameters of insects fed on the four different food plants. Ranking was cassava>mixture>pawpaw>acalyhpa. Sex had no significant effect on the measurement of body parameters regardless of the food plants. Feeding assay showed that there was a significant difference between the amounts of leaves consumed by Zonocerus fed on the different food plants. Of all the diets, cassava was the most preferred and most consumed food plant. This had a corresponding effect on the weight gained by the insects. The results of the proximate analysis showed significant differences in the dry matter, crude protein and fat content of Z. variegatus fed on the different food plants. A positive correlation existed between the body weight, protein and fat content of Z. variegatus fed on the different food plants.
Key words: Zonocerus variegatus, food plants, instar, growth, development.
African Journal of Biotechnology Vol.2(10) 2003: 350-355