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Table 1 Categorizes descriptors of maize and cowpea pests elicited after pile sorting exercises

From: From novice to expert: agroecological competences of children orphaned by AIDS compared to non-orphans in Benin

Descriptors category Farmers' words
1. Kind of pest they are domestic mammals; they are birds; they are wild animals
2. Morphology & locomotion shape: have different shapes; have hairs or not; have a wavy body; have paws or not; have wings or not; have legs;
size: big, small; invisible (they are only noticeable by their damages);
motion: walk; jump
color: red; green; white; black
Agronomic aspects:
3. habitat/ecology live on the farm, live in the soil, find on maize, find on cowpea, find on leaves, find on stems, stay on the apex, live in maize cobs, find in maize grain, live on cowpea leaves, find in cowpea pods, find on cowpea grains.
4. generic damages very dangerous for the plants, come in flocks, remove seed from soil, eat seeds, eat seed germ, block seed germination, eat seedlings, attack/cut plant roots, uproot seedlings, cut seedlings, cut plants, eat stems, make holes in the leaves, eat the leaves, remove the grains, eat the grains, make holes in the grains.
5. specific damages to maize eat maize seeds, cut maize seedlings, eat maize leaves, cut maize plant, uproot maize plants, suck maize stems, eat maize stems, cut maize leaves, attack maize cobs, make hole in maize cobs, eat maize cobs, eat maize grains, make holes in maize grains.
6. specific damages to cowpea cover cowpea plants, attack cowpea plants, destroy cowpea plants, stop cowpea growth, eat cowpea stems, cover cowpea stems, eat cowpea leaves, make holes in cowpea leaves, cause cowpea leaf loss, twist cowpea leaves, cut cowpea leaves, cover cowpea leaves, cover cowpea plant apex, cut cowpea flowers, make holes in cowpea pods, eat cowpea grains.
Management and utilization aspects
7. Managing the pests Easy to kill, they are troublesome, difficult to fight, need the use of insecticide, resistant to insecticide, no need of insecticide.
8. utility We sell them; we eat them; they are our poultry
Number of respondents (N) = 77