Hellula undalis (Fabricius, 1781)
Cabbage Webworm
(one synonym : Pionea geyri Rothschild, 1915)

GLAPHYRIINAE ,   CRAMBIDAE ,   PYRALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
( donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Hellula undalis
(Photo: courtesy of Merle Shepard, Gerald R.Carner, and P.A.C Ooi,
Insects and their Natural Enemies Associated with Vegetables and Soybean in Southeast Asia, Bugwood.org)

The caterpillars of this species are pale greenish-brown with several dark lines along the body. The head is very dark brown. The caterpillars are an agricultural pest on crops in the Cabbage ( BRASSICACEAE ) family, particularly:

  • Head Cabbage ( Brassica oleracea var. capitata ),
  • Chinese Cabbage ( Brassica rapa var. pekinensis ), and
  • Mustard Cabbage ( Brassica juncea ).

    The caterpillars initially bore into the stem of growing shoots, later instars feeding in the leaves and leaf stems. The caterpillars make a web of silk around their feeding area which accumulates frass.

    Pupation occurs within the silken shelter.

    Hellula undalis
    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville)

    Adult moths have fawn forewings, each with sinuous pale lines and a kidney-shaped mark. The hindwings are a uniform grey darkening at the margins. The wingspan is about 2 cms.

    Hellula undalis
    (Picture: courtesy of CSIRO Entomology)

    The pheromones have been determined and are used in Integrated Pest Management techniques for this species.

    The species occurs from Europe across Asia to the Pacific, including :

  • Canary Islands,
  • Cook Islands,
  • Greece,
  • Hawaii,
  • India,
  • Malaysia, and
  • Togo,

    as well as in Australia in

  • Western Australia,
  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • Lord Howe Island, and
  • Norfolk Island.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pp. 66, 354.

    P.C. Hely, G. Pasfield, and J.G. Gellatley,
    Insect pests of fruit and vegetables in NSW. Inkata Press, Melbourne.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths, CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 133.


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    (updated 22 January 2013)