Laboratory Culture Technique for Cephonodes hylas Linnaeus (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae)
Cephonodes hylas (L) is a major Lepidopterous defoliator insect pest that is responsible for 50-70% yield loss of robusta coffee in Nigeria. The biology of the pest was not fully understood due to paucity of information on its rearing in captivity. In addition, on eclosion, the young adults have undeveloped gonads and they require feed before maturation of their gonads. A new laboratory culture technique for this pest is therefore, discussed in this study. Eight cages were initially screened in the laboratory for rearing the insects. Subsequently, four concentrations (5, 10, 20 and 25%) of three sources of sugar; table cane sugar, analytical sucrose and honey were tested for their suitability for raising adults C. hylas under laboratory conditions in the chosen muslin cage with a feeding platform. The moths fed actively on the diets and lived longer than when starved. It was also confirmed that the adults require food for maturation of the gonads. A mean longevity of 14days/adult was attained with the 25% sucrose as against 4 days when starved (given water only) while a mean fecundity of 957 viable eggs/ female was obtained compared to an average of 132 eggs/female in the wild population of the insect. No egg was recorded for the starved moth. The 10% commercial cane sugar solution was adjudged best diet for laboratory rearing of adult C. hylas.
Keywords: Laboratory; Culture/Rearing; Diet; Cephonodes hylas