Voorhees College, Denmark, South Carolina, Sophomore, major: Biology
Mentor: Robert L. Meagher and Rodney Nagoshi
Differentiating Fall Armyworms through Genetic Markers
Abstract: Fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith), is a migratory polyphagous pest of many agricultural habitats such as corn, sorghum, forage grasses for livestock, turf grasses, rice, cotton, and peanuts in eastern and central North America and in South America. FAW consists of two host strains; rice and corn, which are distinguished using genetic markers. Growers, consultants, and researchers monitor for FAW male moths using sex pheromone-baited traps. As with many traps, nontarget species can also be collected. Identifying FAW moths from other similar species can be difficult, especially when moths have been in traps for an extended period of time. One similar species found in the northeast is Leucania phragmatidicola Guenée (LP). My research project was to first separate FAW and LP moths collected in pheromone traps in Pennsylvania (Penn State). I isolated DNA and separated the FAW host strains using PCR and genomic markers. My experimental hypothesis was that DNA patterns found with FAW host strains would be different when analyzing LP moths.
Tredina weighing fall armyworm larvae in the feeding study.
Tredina collecting Florana stargrass for the fall armyworm feeding study.