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New Zealand Plant Protection 67 (2014): 250-255

Investigations into suitability of Trifolium occidentale as a host plant for two common pasture pests

P.J. Gerard and K.M. O'Donnell

ABSTRACT

Western clover (Trifolium occidentale) is a diploid perennial clover that is reported to be one of the progenitors of white clover (Trifolium repens). The ability to produce hybrids between T. repens and T. occidentale provides an opportunity to introduce factors to improve white clover tolerance to common stress factors. A series of assays was undertaken to compare the feeding and performance of two contrasting pests on two T. occidentale lines and two T. repens cultivars. Clover root weevil (Sitona lepidus) adults showed a preference for T. repens, but this diminished if weevils had been previously exposed to T. occidentale. Weevil longevity, feeding levels and oviposition were comparable over 32 days, indicating T. occidentale is a host plant for adult S. lepidus. Clover flea (Sminthurus viridis) showed a strong preference for T. repens over T. occidentale in a choice test and higher feeding levels on T. repens in the no-choice test.

Keywords: choice test, no-choice test, Sminthurus viridis, Sitona lepidus.

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