Conopomorpha cramerella (Snellen, 1904)
Cocoa Pod Borer
(also known as Acrocercops cramerella)
GRACILLARIINAE ,   GRACILLARIIDAE ,   GRACILLARIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Drawing: Pieter Cornelius Tobias Snellen, listed as Gracilaria cramerella
Over de ontwikkelingstoestanden van eenige Microlepidoptera van Java,
Tijschrift voor Entomologie, Volume 46 (1904), pl. 10, figs. 2a)

These Caterpillars are wgite with sparse short hairs. The caterpillars are a pest in tropical countries, because the female adult moths lay their eggs on the unripe fruit of :

  • Nam-nam ( Cynometra cauliflora, FABACEAE ),
  • Lychee ( Litchi chinensis, SAPINDACEAE ),
  • Rambutan ( Nephelium lappaceum, SAPINDACEAE ),
  • Kola ( Sterculia acuminata, STERCULIACEAE ), and
  • Cocoa ( Theobroma cacao, STERCULIACEAE ).

    The caterpillars tunnel into the center of the fruit, where they feed on the seeds for about two to three weeks. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 1 cm.


    (Drawing: Pieter Cornelius Tobias Snellen, listed as Gracilaria cramerella
    Over de ontwikkelingstoestanden van eenige Microlepidoptera van Java,
    Tijschrift voor Entomologie, Volume 46 (1904), pl. 10, figs. 2b)

    The caterpillars chew their way out to pupate.


    (Photo : courtesy of The Papua Insects Foundation, Indonesia)

    This species has been found in :

  • India,
  • Indonesia,
  • Malaysia,
  • New Guinea,

    and also for the period in 2011-2013 in Australia in

  • Queensland

    where it has since been eradicated.

    Control of the pest may be attempted by:

  • burning fallen leaves which can contain the cocoons (Morton, J.),
  • sleeving the young pods with plastic bag (Bakar, S. et al),
  • frequent harvesting (Depparaba, F.),
  • insecticides (Sahoo, A.K. et al),
  • breeding fruit varieties with hard skins (Day, R.K.),
  • pheromone trapping (Maisin, N.),
  • the fungus Beauveria bassiana (Posada, F. & Vega, F.E.)
  • using toxins from the Bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis,
  • the Black Cocoa Ant ( Dolichoderus thoracicus , FORMICIDAE ), and
  • the parasitoid wasp Trichogrammatoidea bactrae fumata ( TRICHOGRAMMATIDAE ) (Alias A. & Lee, M.T.).


    Further reading :

    John David Bradley,
    Identity of the South-East Asian cocoa moth, Conopomorpha cramerella (Snellen) (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae), with descriptions of three allied new species,
    Bulletin of Entomological Research,
    Volume 76, Part 1 (March 1986), pp. 41-51.

    Pieter Cornelius Tobias Snellen (writ. W. Van Daventer),
    Over de ontwikkelingstoestanden van eenige Microlepidoptera van Java,
    Tijschrift voor Entomologie,
    Volume 46 (1904), pp. 84-86, pl. 10, figs. 2a,2b.


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    (written 31 January 2005, 27 November 2014, 21 March 2015)