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Adult activity and host plant utilization in cranberry fruitworm, Acrobasis vaccinii Riley (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)

Nagendra R Sharma, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The cranberry fruitworm, Acrobasis vaccinii Riley (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), is a serious pest of cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.). Reported hosts also include highbush blueberry ( Vaccinium corymbosum L.), lowbush sweet blueberry (Vaccinium augustifolium Ait.), and black huckleberry [(Gaylussacia baccata (Wang.) K. Koch], all of which grow in the woodlands (called uplands) surrounding Massachusetts bogs. Since a thorough understanding of movement patterns of a pest species within and between host habitats is crucial for the implementation of a successful management program, moth movement was studied in time and space through trapping of wild and mark-released moths. The results, reported in Chapters I and II, demonstrate that the moth is very mobile and that large flights occur in both cultivated bogs and their surrounding uplands. Trap studies also showed a significant effect of trap height on the number of moths captured. Moths were active later at night in the upland, and males, in particular, were active in the trees, which suggested adoption of a “hilltopping” strategy to enhance their chances of mate finding. In field and lab studies reported in Chapter III, the periodicities of emergence, mating, and oviposition were recorded, and the data suggest that it is advantageous for females to delay mating when conditions are favorable for oviposition. Females were polyandrous, and assessment of spermatophore age in females suggested that mating may occur more frequently in the upland compared to the bog. Studies reported in Chapter IV showed that moth activity and infestation occurred earlier in both blueberry plantings and in the uplands than cranberry. The large numbers of moths captured in the uplands did not appear to originate from larvae developing in the uplands, since infestation of wild berries could not be corroborated. A study of host preference and performance in four different hosts (cultivated cranberry and blueberry, wild blueberry and huckleberry) is reported in Chapter V. Huckleberry was the least preferred for oviposition, and both of the cultivated berries were more suitable for larval development when compared to the wild hosts. The relationship between preference ranking and performance was positive. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Sharma, Nagendra R, "Adult activity and host plant utilization in cranberry fruitworm, Acrobasis vaccinii Riley (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)" (2005). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3163706.