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Desiccation resistance in eggs of the Indian-meal moth, Plodia interpunctella, and the bluegrass webworm, Crambus teterrellus, was compared. Decapitation was used to obtain eggs for humidity studies. In both species decapitated females showed a slightly higher incidence of infertile eggs, as well as of fertile eggs which did not eclose, than occurred in eggs collected from nondecapitated females. Eggs of P. interpunctella are relatively resistant to desiccation. This moth is a pest of stored grains and tends to oviposit in areas of low humidity. In laboratory tests more than 95% of the fertile eggs eclosed at each of the nine increments of relative humidity ranging from 0 to 100% at 23 C. Rate of embryonic development was unaffected by all but 0% relative humidity, which retarded development by about 12 hr. Eggs of C. teterrellus are not as resistant to desiccation. Females commonly oviposit on lawns and other grass cover where humidity at soil level is high. At 23 C and at relative humidities over 50% more than 90% of the fertile eggs eclosed. Below this humidity mortality increased with each lowering of relative humidity. Rate of embryonic development was reduced at low relative humidities.

Project Sponsors

Funds were provided for this study by a National Science Foundation Summer Traineeship for Graduate Teaching Assistants during the summer of 1968. I wish to express by sincere appreciation to Dr. Clifford S. Crawford for his interest and guidance throughout this study. I am indebted to Dr. P. T. M. Lum of the U.S Dep. Agr. Market Quality Research Division, Savannah, Georgia, for providing the Plodia interpunctella moths, as well as the medium formula and rearing procedures, used in this study. I would also like to thank Dr. C. Clayton Hoff, Dr. Gordon V. Johnson and Dr. David E. Kidd for their criticisms. Finally, I wish to thank my wife Kay for her contributions.



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Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Clifford Smeed Crawford

Second Committee Member

Clarence Clayton Hoff

Third Committee Member

Gordon Verle Johnson

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