Relative performance of European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana) on grapes and other hosts

Oecologia. 2005 May;143(4):548-57. doi: 10.1007/s00442-005-0022-7. Epub 2005 Mar 25.


The European grapevine moth, Lobesia botrana is a major grapevine pest, but despite the abundance of vineyards it is a generalist and uses either grapes or alternative species. Given the abundance and predictability of grape, L. botrana could be expected to have evolved towards monophagy. In order to understand why this species remains polyphagous, we hypothesized that larvae reared on rare wild host plants should have higher fitness than those reared on the more abundant grape host. For this, we compared larval performance and several life history traits on three alternative host plants (Daphne gnidium, Olea europaea, Tanacetum vulgare) and three Vitaceae (Vitis vinifera), two cultivars and one wild species (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata), and two control groups raised on either a low or a high nutritive value medium. Alternative hosts are more suitable than Vitaceae for the reproductive performance of L. botrana: larval mortality and development time was reduced, while pupal weight, growth rate, female longevity, female fecundity, duration of laying and mating success were increased. High quality food ingested by larvae promotes higher adult body weight and enhances female reproductive output. This suggests that alternative hosts provide greater nutritional value for L. botrana than Vitaceae. The use of alternative host plants could thus be maintained in the host range because they offer L. botrana a better fitness than on the Vitaceae. This could typically represent an advantage for moths behaving in plant diversity grape landscapes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology
  • France
  • Larva / physiology
  • Male
  • Moths / physiology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Vitis*