Occurrence of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) on Onion (Allium cepa L.) in Kashusha District, Eastern DR Congo
The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith, 1797), has become one of the most devastating pests in the world, starting in the Americas and invading Africa since 2016. To develop effective integrated management strategies against S. frugiperda, it is crucial to know its alternative host plants. In this study, we provide the first information on the occurrence of S. frugiperda in onion crops in Eastern DR Congo. Monitoring was carried out during the 2019 and 2020 growing seasons in onion-peanut based cropping system to detect the presence and assess the incidence of S. frugiperda. A reduced incidence (2.88%) and larval density of S. frugiperda (0.79) in onion pure cultivation was observed and found to be one adaptation strategy to maintain its population throughout the year, which contributes to increase the level of infestation in its preferred host plants such as maize. In the future, further genetic studies are needed to provide a better explanation of the biology of this pest and to find out which of the two existing strain infests onions or whether it is an unknown hybrid population of S. frugiperda.