Feeding behaviour of the first-instar Choristoneura fumiferana and Choristoneura pinus pinus (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

A. Retnakaran, W. L. Tomkins, M. J. Primavera, S. R. Palli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We have discovered that, contrary to the long-held belief, 1st-instar spruce budworm, Choristoneura fumiferana Clemens, do feed. They display red alimentary tracts if they are provided with diet containing the red dye amaranth. They graze on the surface of balsam fir needles sprayed with rhodamine and ingest the fluorescent material, which can be detected in the frass pellets deposited inside the hibernacula. When emerging 1st instars were allowed to crawl on the inside surface of a glass tube coated with the polyhedral inclusion bodies of a recombinant C. fumiferana virus containing the gene for the green fluorescent protein, the larvae showed the characteristic green fluorescence, indicating that not only had they ingested the occlusion bodies but also the virus had replicated and infected different tissues. Similar results were obtained with the jack pine budworm, Choristoneura pinus pinus Freeman, which has an identical life history. The advantages of early-instar intervention to minimize defoliation by using control agents such as the ecdysteroid agonist, tebufenozide (RH-5992, Mimic® formulation), are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-84
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Entomologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank S.S. Sohi and G.G. Grant (Canadian Forest Service, Sault Ste. Marie) for critical comments and K. Jamieson (Canadian Forest Service, Sault Ste. Marie) for editorial help on the manuscript. This study was supported by theCanadian Forest Service, the National Biotechnology Strategy Fund, and Rohm and Haas Canada Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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