Nonsensical choices? Fall armyworm moths choose seemingly best or worst hosts for their larvae, but neonate larvae make their own choices
Selecting optimal host plants is critical for herbivorous insects, such as fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), an important maize pest in the Americas and Africa. Fall armyworm larvae are presumed to have limited mobility, hence female moths are presumed to be largely responsible for selecting hosts. We addressed host selection by fall armyworm moths and neonate and older (3rd-instar) larvae, as mediated by resistance and herbivory in maize plants. Thus, we compared discrimination among three maize cultivars with varying degrees of resistance to fall armyworm, and between plants subjected or not to two types of herbivory.