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Psyche
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 232735, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/232735
Research Article

Host Plant and Leaf-Age Preference of Luprops tristis (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae: Lagriinae: Lupropini): A Home Invading Nuisance Pest in Rubber Plantation Belts

Post Graduate & Research Department of Zoology, St. Joseph's College, Devagiri, Calicut, Kerala 673008, India

Received 30 November 2010; Revised 27 January 2011; Accepted 9 February 2011

Academic Editor: Ai-Ping Liang

Copyright © 2012 Sabu K. Thomas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Massive seasonal invasion by the litter-dwelling beetle Luprops tristis, into residential buildings prior to monsoon rains, and their prolonged state of dormancy render them a very serious nuisance pest in rubber plantations in the Western Ghats in southern India. Feeding preferences of L. tristis towards leaf litter of seven trees co-occurring in rubber plantations, cashew (Anacardium occidentale), mango (Mangifera indica), jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), wild jack (Artocarpus hirsutus), cocoa (Theobroma cacao), cassia (Cassia fistula), sapota (Manilkara zapota) and rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) were analyzed with no-choice and multiple-choice leaf disc tests. Results showed that L. tristis is a generalist feeder with a defined pattern of preference, with the leaf litter of rubber being the most preferred followed by those of jackfruit and cocoa. Tender leaves were preferred over mature leaves except for cocoa and sapota. Equal preference towards tender and mature cocoa leaves, presence of patches of cocoa plantations and the scarce distribution of other host plants in rubber plantation belts leads to the proposal that in the absence of tender and mature rubber leaves, cocoa becomes the major host plant of L. tristis.