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


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

These 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. They chew their way out to pupate.

    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, 1 March 2015)