Batrachedra arenosella (Walker, 1864)
Coconut Moth
(previously known as Gracillaria arenosella)
BATRACHEDRIDAE ,   GELECHIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research)

The Caterpillars of this species live in a web sometimes hidden under bark. They have been reported as feeding on a variety of items, including :

  • Coconuts ( Cocos nucifera, ARECACEAE ),
  • Kappamaram ( Schefflera stellata, ARALIACEAE ),
  • seeds of Rushes ( Juncus species, JUNCACEAE ), and
  • scale insects ( COCCOIDEA ).

    The adult moths of this species have forewings that are speckled brown, and that have fringes along the inner margin that are longer than the width of the rest of the wing. The hindwings narrower, and have fringes along the costa and even longer ones along the inner margin. The antennae are longer than the forewings. The wingspan is about 1 cm.

    The species has been found in :

  • New Zealand,

    and in Australia in

  • the Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • South Australia.


    Further reading :

    W.A. Baringbing,
    Studies on Chelonus sp. a parasite of the coconut moth Batrachedra arenosella. Tropical Pest Management, Volume 30, Number 2 (1984), p. 207.

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, p. 233.


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    (updated 24 July 2012)