Sitotroga cerealella (Olivier, 1789)
Angoumois Grain Moth
(formerly known as Alucita cerealella)
CHELARIINAE ,   GELECHIIDAE ,   GELECHIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Sitotroga cerealella
(Picture: courtesy of Casa Bernardo, Brasil)

This Caterpillar is an agricultural pest overseas and in Australia. It particularly attacks grain: the seeds of plants in the family POACEAE, such as:

  • Maize ( Zea mays ),
  • Pearl Millet ( Pennisetum glaucum ),
  • Rice ( Oryza sativa ),
  • Sorghum ( Sorghum bicolor ), and
  • Wheat ( Triticum species ).

    as well as wild grasses.

    The caterpillar bores into a seed, and feeds inside the seed covering. The caterpillars do not survive on ground grain such as flour. The caterpillar grows to a length of about 1 cm.

    Sitotroga cerealella
    (Picture: courtesy of Casa Bernardo, Brasil)

    The adult moths have a wingspan of about 1 cm. The forewings have a uniform colour, which can be between pale grey to dark brown. There are often one or two black spots on the forewings. The hindwings each have a fringe of hairs. The pheromones of this species have been identified.

    The species occurs world-wide, for example in :

  • Benin,
  • Brazil,
  • Indonesia,
  • Japan, and
  • U.S.A.,

    and all over Australia, including:

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pp. 68, 258.

    Guillaume Antoine Olivier,
    Insectes I,
    Encyclopédie Méthodique des Histoire Naturelle
    Volume 4 (1789), p. 121, No. 15.


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    (updated 1 May 2009)