Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 267–275 | Cite as

Composition of stem borer communities in selected vegetation mosaics in Kenya

  • G. O. Ong’amoEmail author
  • B. P. Le Ru
  • P.-A. Calatayud
  • J.-F. Silvain
Original Paper


Busseola fusca (Fuller), Sesamia calamistis Hampson, Chilo partellus (Swinhoe) and Chilo orichalcociliellus (Strand) are important stem borer pests of maize and sorghum in East Africa. Persistence of these pests in crop fields is blamed on the influx of diaspore populations from the neighbouring natural habitats. In addition to pest species, natural habitats support numerous non-economic stem borer species, some not known to science. However, due to growing human populations and accompanying global change, some of the natural habitats are undergoing rapid changes, a process that may result in the evolution of “new” pest species. In this study, we investigated stem borer species diversity in four different vegetation mosaics in Kenya, with an aim of establishing the differences in species composition and distributions in both wild and cultivated habitats. We identified 33 stem borer species belonging to 14 different genera in the four families; Noctuidae, Crambidae, Pyralidae and Tortricidae from 37 plant species. In addition to the above stem borer pest species, we found three more species, Busseola segeta Bowden, Pirateolea piscator Fletcher and Eldana saccharina Walker, in the cultivated fields. Together, stem borer pests varied in distribution among vegetation mosaics, suggesting differences in ecological requirement. Despite the variations in distribution patterns, stem borer pests co-existed with non-economic species in the natural habitats, communities that are facing threats due to ongoing habitat changes. This paper discusses the likely impacts of habitat changes on both pest and non-economic species.


Population exchange Host use “new” pests Pest management Species diversity Wild habitats 



The authors wish to acknowledge the technical assistance offered by L. Ngala, B. Musyoka and A. Kibe of Noctuid Stem Borer Biodiversity ICIPE –Nairobi, Kenya) during both field collection and rearing of collected materials. Funds for this survey were provided by Institut de Recherche pour le Développement through Biodiversité et évolution des complexes plantes-insectes ravageurs-antagonistes research unit budget (IRD - UR 072).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. O. Ong’amo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • B. P. Le Ru
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • P.-A. Calatayud
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • J.-F. Silvain
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of NairobiNairobiKenya
  2. 2.Unité de Recherche IRD 072International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE)NairobiKenya
  3. 3.Unité de Recherche IRD 072CNRS, Laboratoire Evolution, Génomes et Spéciation, UPR 9034Gif-sur-Yvette cedexFrance
  4. 4.France et Université Paris-Sud 11Orsay cedexFrance

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