Indian Journal of Agricultural Research

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Indian Journal of Agricultural Research, volume 58 issue 1 (february 2024) : 170-174

Biology and Incidence of the Jackfruit Bud Weevil Ochyromera artocarpi Marshall (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) 

Soumya Kallekkattil1,2, Aswatha Krishnamoorthy1, Melally G. Venkatesha3,*
1ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Hesseraghatta Lake post, Bengaluru-560 089, Karnataka, India.
2Department of Zoology and Genetics, Jyoti Nivas College Autonomous, Bengaluru-560 095, Karnataka, India.
3Department of Zoology, Bangalore University, Bengaluru-560 056, Karnataka, India.
Cite article:- Kallekkattil Soumya, Krishnamoorthy Aswatha, Venkatesha G. Melally (2024). Biology and Incidence of the Jackfruit Bud Weevil Ochyromera artocarpi Marshall (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) . Indian Journal of Agricultural Research. 58(1): 170-174. doi: 10.18805/IJARe.A-5653.
Background: Jackfruit is one of the favourite fruit crops of the world owing to its taste and nutritional value and it is rightly called as the ‘Poor man’s food’. India is the second biggest producer of this fruit in the world; but commercial cultivation of jackfruit is still at a primitive stage in India. Besides a survey for the insect pests of the jackfruit in the earlier part of this century, there is no much research work has been carried out from India on jackfruit. Realizing an immediate need the present study was undertaken to generate more precise information about the biology of jackfruit bud weevil Ochyromera artocarpi, an important pest of jackfruit. 

Methods: The biology and seasonal incidence of the jackfruit bud weevil, Ochyromera artocarpi (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) were studied in Indian Council of Agricultural Research - Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (ICAR - IIHR), Bengaluru (12° 8’N; 77° 35’E), India during 2013-2016. 

Result: The male and female weevils completed their life cycle in 25.18±1.09 days and 26.14±1.12 days respectively with five larval instars. The mean incubation period of the egg was 3.90±0.20 days. The mean duration of development of larval stages, prepupa and pupa were 11.84±1.44, 3.10±0.07 and 7.30±0.50 days, respectively. The first and last instar (fifth) larva was 1.27±0.05 and 4.98±0.61 mm in length, respectively. The infestation of O. artocarpi was observed during December-April and reached its peak in March. Evaporation was positively correlated, and precipitation was negatively correlated with O. artocarpi incidence. The results of this study will be helpful to develop IPM strategies against the weevil, which is a major pest of jackfruit.
Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus L) is a tropical fruit, recognized for its unique shape, size and flavour. It is rich in energy, dietary fibre, minerals, and vitamins and free from saturated fats or cholesterol (Dissanayaka, et al., 2019). This Asian tropical fruit belongs to the family of Moraceae (Sidhu, 2012).

India is the second-largest producer of jackfruits in the world and is considered as the motherland of jackfruit. In India, it has a wide distribution in Assam, Tripura, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, the foothills of the Himalayas and south Indian states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka (Bailey, 1949). Despite having such a vast potential and usefulness jackfruit remains as an underutilized fruit. Insect pests are major biotic constraints for agriculture throughout India (Sidde Gowda and Gubbaiah, 2011). The jackfruit bud weevil, Ochyromera artocarpi Marshall (Curculionidae: Coleoptera) is a major pest of jackfruit. It is a small, active and greyish brown weevil. The small whitish grubs of O. artocarpi bore into tender flower buds and fruits, and cause premature fruit drop. The greyish brown adult weevils nibble on jackfruit leaves (Butani, 1979). Ayyar (1940) reported O. artocarpi from north Malabar (Kerala, India) and Mysore (Karnataka, India) as a pest on jackfruit. Subramanian (1958) reported an outbreak of O. artocarpi in the Coimbatore region (Tamilnadu, India).  

Although O. artocarpi has been reported as a severe jackfruit pest in India, no information is available on its detailed biology, seasonal incidence and extent of damage on jackfruit. Primarily, knowledge of biology and incidence of any pests is essential for the development of sustainable pest management practices (Niranjan and Neha, 2016). Hence, the present study was conducted to understand the detailed biology and seasonal incidence of O. artocarpi, which could be helpful to develop suitable pest management methods. 
Initially, O. artocarpi was cultured in the laboratory by collecting larvae of this pest present in jackfruits from the plantation of Indian Council of Agricultural Research – Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (ICAR - IIHR), Bengaluru (12 8’N; 77 35’E), India. The field-collected larvae of O. artocarpi were reared in the laboratory on young jackfruits. Adults of O. artocarpi emerged in the laboratory were allowed to mate in a nylon mating cage (15×15×15 cm) and provided jackfruit leaves as food. Gravid females of O. artocarpi were provided young jackfruits for egg deposition in the same cage. Young jackfruits containing fresh eggs of O. artocarpi were kept individually in plastic boxes (10×10×10 cm) and covered with the muslin cloth. Freshly hatched larvae of O. artocarpi were allowed to develop on the infested jackfruits in the same plastic boxes until they reached the adult stage.
 
Morphology and life cycle
 
The rearing boxes were examined daily for exuviae and head capsules to confirm the moulting of larvae. The egg, larval, prepupal and pupal developmental period and the number of instars in their life cycle were recorded. The egg, each larval instar, prepupa, pupa and an adult were measured using a calibrated eyepiece micrometre under a stereo zoom microscope. External morphology of the egg, each larval instar, prepupa, pupa and adult was recorded.
 
Pest incidence
 
Jackfruit orchards were selected at ICAR - IIHR, Bengaluru, India. The orchard I, II and III comprised 150, 120 and 50 jackfruit trees, respectively. Standard agronomic practices, i.e. weeding, irrigation and fertilization were carried out in all orchards. The trees were never sprayed with any chemical pesticides. Surveys were conducted once a week in the orchards during June 2013 – December 2015. A total number of 50, 40 and 20 plants were randomly selected from jackfruit orchard I, II and III, respectively for recording the incidence of O. artocarpi throughout the year. Adults of O. artocarpi present on the 36 randomly selected branches/tree (12 each from the upper, middle and lower canopies) were counted, and the average population was calculated. Weather parameters viz, maximum and minimum temperature (°C), precipitation (mm), evaporation (mm), morning and evening relative humidity (%RH) and wind speed (km/h) were recorded at weekly intervals at the study area from the weather station located in ICAR-IIHR farm during the study period.
Morphology
 
Eggs were yellowish-white and elliptical shaped (Fig 1a). The embryo was visible through the translucent eggshell. There were five larval instars. The length and width of the egg and larval instars are given in Table 1.

Fig 1: Life stages of Ochyromera artocarpi. a) Egg, b) Freshly hatched larva with egg case, c) Larval instars, d) Anterior portion of larva, e) Prepupa (dorsal side), f) Prepupa (ventral side), g) Pupa (dorsal side), h) Pupa (ventral side), i) Adult.



Table 1: Measurements of immature stages of O. artocarpi.



The translucent empty eggshell showed a small opening on its tip after egg hatching (Fig 1b and c). First instar larva was whitish with reddish-brown on the dorsal side. The body was linear in shape with a short brown head capsule. Second instar larva similar to first instar larva but body turned into a light cream colour with dark brown head capsule (Fig 1d). Body of the third instar larva was light brownish-white with a dark brown head capsule (Fig 1d).

Fourth instar larva was similar to the third instar, but the brownish colour completely disappeared, and the larva became white- the head capsule dark brown with well-developed mandibles. Fifth instar larva was stouter than earlier instars. The full-grown larva slightly curved and ‘C’ shaped with dirty white colour. (Fig 1d) The prepupal larva stopped feeding, shrunk and became stout (Fig 1e, f and g). The prepupa turned into a milky white pupa inside the young jackfruit. The prepupa with wing pads has an eye like black spots on either side of the snout (Fig 1 h and i). The length and width of the prepupa and pupa are given in Table 1. 

Adults were small blackish-brown beetles with a white mark on the prothorax and elytra. Adults were sluggish before feeding and occasionally fly in a horizontal plane. The adult female and male measured 3.78±0.91 and 3.60±0.72 mm in length and 1.5±0.05and 1.37±0.12 mm in width. The body length and width between sexes was not significantly different (t = 1.3, P>0.05 and t = 1.4, P>0.05).

The Ochyromera genus belongs to the tribe Ochyromerini of the subfamily Tychiinae (Morimoto, 1962; Clark et al., 1977) or Curculioninae according to the recent classifications (Kuschel, 1995; Zherichen and Egorov, 1990), includes about 30 species from the Oriental and Far East part of the Palaearctic Regions. Weevils of Ochyromera genus are abundant in the mountain area of warm to the subtropical region in South-east Asia. They have a wide range of host plants belong to Annonaceae, Caesalpiniaceae, Clusiaceae, Ebenaceae, Ericaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Illiciaceae, Lauraceae, Moraceae, Magaoliaceae, Oleaceae, Rubiaceae, Sapotaceae, Theaceae and Pinaceae (Kalshoven, 1956; Kojima et al.1998; Oberpreiler, 1993; Kojimo and Morimoto, 1996). The weevils are known to feed on various parts of plants, i.e. seeds, fruits, flowers and leaves and pupate in the soil in leaf-mining species, i.e. O. miwai, or inside seed or fruit in fruit-eating weevils, O. suturulis, O. ligustri and O. artocarpi (Kojima and Morimoto, 1996).

Many Ochyromera species have been recorded as pests all over the world (Warner, 1961). However, the biology of the weevils is inadequately known. The egg of O. artocarpi is oval with a smooth surface and colour ranges from white to cream as reported in the sweet potato weevil Cylas formicarius (Martin and Minoru, 1954; Cockerham, 1954). Butani (1993) also reported that the egg of O. artocarpi is oval and pale yellow. The oviposition behaviour of O. artocarpi is similar to that of C. formicarius, which lays eggs singly within the cavity on a fruit (Martin and Minoru, 1954).
 
Life cycle
 
The developmental period of egg, four larval instars, prepupa and pupa of O. artocarpi is presented in Table 2. The total developmental period of larval instars including prepupa and pupa was 9.04±1.51 days. The male and female O. artocarpi completed their life cycle in 25.18±1.09 and 26.14±1.12 days under laboratory conditions.

Table 2: Relationship between O. artocarpi population and abiotic factors.



The gravid females of Ochyromera artocarpi made small cavities on young jackfruits and laid eggs in them singly (Fig 2 a). The larva after hatching scraped in the outer part of the fruit. The early-stage larvae were found feeding in the pericarp region of the fruit. The full-grown larvae made damage more in-depth in the endocarp portion of the fruits (Fig 2 b and c). The freshly eclosed adult weevils fed in the pericarp region of the fruits. Adult weevils emerged from the dried fallen fruits by making small circular holes (Fig 2 f).

Fig 2: Damage symptoms of Ochyromera artocarpi on jackfruit. a) Damaged fruit, b) Early instar larva entering into the pericarp of fruit, c) Different stages of pest damage on young fruits, d) and e) Later larval instars feeding on the endocarp of fruit f) Fallen dried fruit showing adult exit holes.



The larva O. artocarpi is of the typical curculionid form as reported in the mango nut weevil Sternochetus mangiferae (Fabricius) (Robert and Thomas, 2016; Pinese and Holmes, 2005). They are crescent-shaped, cylindrical, white, legless grubs. Older larval instars are compact and C-shaped. Ochyromera artocarpi completed its life cycle with five larval stages, as reported by Subramanian (1958). The total larval period, including prepupa of O. artocarpi lasted for 9.04±1.51 days, whereas Subramanian (1958) reported that the larvae complete its development and pupate in 14-15 days. The variation in larval duration may be due to the effect of host plants and local climatic factors. Damage of O. artocarpi on young fruits was similar to the reports of Subramanian (1958) and Butani (1979). The adult weevils found to feed externally, singly or in groups, on the fruit as reported by Butani (1993). The body measurement of adult female and male was almost similar to O.  sonepheti (Hiroaki Kojima, 2011).
 
Seasonal incidence
 
Populations of O. artocarpi fluctuated during different months of a year. The initial infestation of O. artocarpi was observed in December coinciding with the onset of fruit set, and infestation further increased from January and reached its peak in March, and fully declined in April. The population of O. artocarpi was positively correlated with evaporation (r = 0.70) and negatively correlated with precipitation (r = -0.63) (Table 3).  The small whitish grubs of O. artocarpi bore into tender flower buds and fruits during November to April. Affected buds and fruits fall prematurely. Adults sometimes found nibbling on leaves and feeding on the outer portion of immature fruits during March.

The population fluctuations of jackfruit bud weevil were closely associated with the weather parameters. The incidence was similar during all the three years (November - May), with a peak density in March (Fig 3). As of now, so far no information is available on the seasonal incidence of O. artocarpi on jackfruit and also on the genus Ochyromera in general in India and elsewhere. Our study provided a detailed life history and incidence of O. artocarpi first time, and this information could be useful to develop an effective weevil management programme.

Fig 3: Incidence of Ochyromera artocarpi in relation to climatic factors at ICAR-IIHR jackfruit orchards during 2013 – 2015.

Experiment results revealed that the male and female O. artocarpi completed their life cycle in 25.18±1.09 days and 26.14±1.12 days, respectively on jackfruit. There were five larval instars in its life cycle. Different life stages viz, larval stages, prepupa and pupa completed in 11.84±1.44, 3.10±0.07 and 7.30±0.50 days, respectively. The infestation of O. artocarpi was observed during December-April and reached its peak in March.
The authors are thankful to the Director, ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, for providing necessary facilities.
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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