By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, May 13: Central Agricultural University, Imphal has claimed that a new species of butterfly has been detected in the State while studying the maize plantations which have been extensively damaged by a pest.
It is still yet not clear whether the new butterfly species is responsible for the vast destruction caused to maize platations.
At the initiative of CAU, Imphal Vice Chancellor Prof M Premjit and College of Agriculture Dean Prof Y Jekendra, a five-member team of CAU Imphal went to three maize cultivated areas of Imphal West and Bishnupur on May 10 to examine the nature of the pest which has been attacking maize plantations extensively.
The team included Department of Entomology, Head Prof MK Gupta, Associate Prof Dr Kh Ibohal, Prof M Kunjaraj of Extension of Department, Plant Pathologist Dr Nabakishor Nongmaithem and Agronomy Scientist (Maize) Dr Sanjenbam Dayananda.
They came across cultivation of hybrid maize variety HQPM-5 at around one pari at Khonghampat Mayai Leikai, Imphal West.
Apart from the highly invasive pest which has been reported in the media, the team detected a new species of butterfly and the maize plantation was found devastated by around 60 per cent.
The team distributed pesticide Chlorphynphos for spraying at the maize plantation with detailed instructions on how to spray the particular pesticide.
Pointing out that one adult of the particular pest can lay up to 1000 eggs, the team suggested maize farmers to light a bulb of 200 Watt in the middle of the field, about two metres above maize plants.
The pests can be destroyed by placing a plastic tub partially filled with kerosene near the electric bulb, according to the CAU team.
Dekalb DKC-9081 and Deklab DKC-9135 varieties of maize cultivated over two/three paris at Leimaram Maning Leikai, Bishnupur district were found ravaged by almost 80 per cent.
Around 70 percent of Annex variety of maize cultivated over one pari at Kabowakching Makha Leikai Part-I, Bishnupur district were also found destroyed by pest.
There too, the team advised farmers to use light trap to destroy the pest apart from recommending suitable pesticide.
Dr Kh Ibohal told media persons that photographs of the new butterfly species detected at Khonghampat have been sent to Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi and National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Insects, Bengaluru for proper identification. As for the particular pest which has been causing widespread destruction of maize plantations in the State, CAU has ordered pheromone traps for proper identification and these traps would arrive within five days, Dr Ibohal said.
He said that one larva each could be seen in maize soots attacked by the particular pest. But Fall Armyworm is a pest which lie hidden during day time and come out at night for feeding, he continued. Noting that invasive pests are found attacking more on hybrid maize varieties, Dr Ibohal said that one major factor for the massive pest invasion is the rising temperature.