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Maize stemborers distribution, their natural enemies and farmers’ perception on climate change and stemborers in southern Togo

AK Tounou
K Agboka
KM Agbodzavu
K Wegbe


Objective: The objectives of this study were to (i) assess the importance of the different stemborer species and their associated natural enemies on maize, and (ii) evaluate cereal producers’ perception on the effect of the current climate variability, on the maize stem and ear borers and their mitigation strategies to alleviate the impact of climate change on their cropping system.
Methodology and results: Surveys were conducted in 2012 during the long cropping season lasting from March to July and the short one from September to October in southern Togo, to determine geographic distribution, relative importance of lepidopterous stemborers and their parasitism by natural enemies on maize. A questionnaire was introduced to evaluate cereal farmers’ perception of climate change and its effects on maize stem and ear borers. Of the total borer species recovered, the most abundant was Sesamia calamistis Hampson (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) (76.02%), followed by Busseola fusca Füller (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) (21.71%) and then Eldana saccharina Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) (2.27%). The borers’ abundance was affected by the agroecological zones and cropping seasons. Eldana saccharina was found in Zio and Yoto in coastal zone whereas B. fusca was recorded only in Yoto. Sesamia calamistis was the only species found in all the surveyed agroecological zones (III, IV and V). Fields were infested by all borer species at 34.4% and 83.3% in the long and short cropping seasons respectively. The percentage of infested plants ranged from 0 to 72% in the first cropping season, and 33 to 95% in the second cropping season. The borer densities varied from 0 to 3 larvae per plant in the long cropping season and 1 to 8 larvae per plant in the short cropping season. The egg parasitoid Telenomus busseolae Gahan (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) was identified as the most important with a high natural parasitism rate of 82% on S. calamistis. The main larval parasitoid recorded was Sturmiopsis parasitica Curan (Diptera: Tachnidae) with mean parasitism ranged of between 0 and 8%. Beauveria bassiana (Bals.) Vuill. (Deuteromycotina: Hyphomycetes) infection rate vary from 0 to 5%.of borers’ larvae. Data on farmer’s perception showed that all producers recognized stem and ear borers and their damages. However, they perceive climate change effects differently by high temperatures, rains irregularity, floods, strong winds and to a lesser extent the proliferation of new pests such as termites (Isoptera), Zonocerus variegatus (L) (Orthoptera: Pyrgomorphidae) and Cicadulina spp. (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae). Adaptation strategies practiced by farmers are the choice of early maturing crop varieties, the spacing of sowing period and the crop diversification.
Conclusion and application of funding: From these results, we conclude that S. calamistis, E. saccharina, and B. fusca and their associated natural enemies are present in all agroecological zones of southern Togo. These findings could serve as baseline data for further studies.

Key words: Climate change, ear borers, incidence, maize, parasitism, severity, stem borers.