Pectinophora gossypiella (Saunders, 1844)
Pink Bollworm
(one synonym : Gelechia umbripennis Swinhoe, 1885)
CHELARIINAE ,   GELECHIIDAE ,   GELECHIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Pectinophora gossypiella
(Photo: courtesy of Peggy Greb , United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service)

This Caterpillar is initially white, becoming pink, and has a brown head and split collar. It grows to a length of about 1 cm. It bores into a bud or fruit of its food plant. It often feeds on

  • Cottonwood ( Hibiscus tiliaceus, MALVACEAE ), and
  • Broad Leaved Bottle Tree ( Brachychiton australis, STERCULIACEAE ),

    but also feeds on and is a worldwide pest causing losses up to 60% of the crop of

  • Cotton ( Gossypium hirsutum, MALVACEAE ).

    Pectinophora gossypiella
    (Photo: courtesy of Brian Cartwright, Adelaide Hills)

    The adult moths have a brown pattern on the forewings. The hindwings are off-white with brown veins. The wingspan is about 2 cms. The pheromones of this species have been identified.


    monochrome drawing by Harold Maxwell-Lefroy
    ,
    Indian Insect Life: a Manual of the Insects of the Plains, 1909, p. 532, fig. 344,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by NCSU Libraries.

    The species occurs world-wide, including

  • Africa,
  • Asia,
  • USA,

    and in Australia in:

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia,

    although some of the sightings may involve confusion between this species and similar pest species in Pectinophora and Pexicopia.

    Attempts are being made to control Pectinophora gossypiella using :


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, p. 260.

    Ian F.B. Common,
    A revision of the pink bollworms of cotton (Pectinophora busck (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae)) and related genera in Austalia,
    Australian Journal of Zoology,
    Volume 6, Number 3 (1958), pp. 268-306.

    William Wilson Saunders,
    Descriptions of species of Moth destructive to the cotton crops in India,
    Transactions of the Entomological Society of London,
    Volume 3 (1844), p. 285.


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    (updated 26 March 2011, 24 March 2017)