Host range of an NPV and a GV isolated from the common cutworm, Agrotis segetum: pathogenicity within the cutworm complex

T.C. Bourner, J.S. Cory

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The term cutworm covers a range of species with a similar life history that can be very damaging pests on a wide range of crops. Attacks by cutworms are often made up of more than one species; thus, the most cost effective microbial control agent needs to be pathogenic for multiple species within this complex. In this study we investigate the host range of Agrotis segetum NPV and A. segetum GV for other cutworm species and closely related Noctuinae. Eight species, A. segetum, Agrotis ipsilon, Agrotis exclamationis, Agrotis puta, Noctua comes, Peridroma saucia, Xestia sexstrigata, and Xestia xanthographa, were clearly susceptible to AgseNPV, which was confirmed by DNA analysis. Aglais urticae, Diarsia rubi, Noctua pronuba, and Xestia c-nigrum were not susceptible to AgseNPV at the doses used. Noctua fimbriata, Noctua janthina, and Ochroplura plecta gave ambivalent results: larvae died of NPV infection when they were challenged with AgseNPV, but these individuals only produced weak positives in a squash blot analysis and there was insufficient DNA for confirmation by restriction endonuclease profiling. These ambivalent results could suggest either a weak infection by AgseNPV or partial homology between their own virus and AgseNPV. The untreated control insects of several species died of NPV infection, which indicates that these field-collected insects were probably carrying a vertically transmitted NPV. Fewer species were tested with AgseGV and only N. pronuba and N. comes were susceptible. N. fimbriata and Helicoverpa armigera were not susceptible to AgseGV.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-379
JournalBiological Control
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • nuclear polyhedrosis-virus
  • black cutworm
  • granulosis-virus
  • ipsilon nucleopolyhedrovirus
  • mamestra-brassicae
  • l lepidoptera
  • noctuidae
  • moth
  • lymantriidae
  • larvae


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