Scirpophaga nivella (Fabricius, 1794)
Sugarcane Top Borer
(one synonym : Schoenobius celidias Meyrick, 1894)
SCHOENOBIINAE,   CRAMBIDAE,   PYRALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

The caterpillars of this species are off-white with a reddish dorsal line. The caterpillars bore into the stems and midrib veins of plants in POACEAE, and are a minor pest on

  • Sugar Cane ( Saccharum species ).

    The caterpillars grow over a period of about 3 weeks. The metamorphosis takes about 2 weeks.


    (Photo: courtesy of the Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    The adult moths are white with pale brown veins. The thorax loses scales easily, becoming black. The females have an off-white tuft on the tip of the abdomen. The moths have a wingspan of about 3 cms. The moths typically only live for up to 4 days. The pheromones of this species have been determned.

    The species is found across south-east Asia, including

  • India,
  • Pakistan, and
  • Taiwan,

    and also occurs in Australia in

  • Western Australia,
  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.

    Control of the pest has been investigated using:

  • the release of sterile insects,
  • natural parasitoids,
  • Chemical insecticides, and
  • the breeding resistant varieties of Sugar Cane.


    Further reading :

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Entomologia Systematica Emendata et Aucta,
    Volume 3, Part 2 (1794), p. 296, No. 39.

    Angoon Lewvanich,
    A Revision of the Old World Species of Scirophaga (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae),
    Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History),
    Volume 42 (1982), p. 192.


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    (written 22 January 2013)