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.

    The adult moths are white with pale brown veins. The thorax loses scales easily, becoming black. The females have a reddish tuft on the tip of the tail. 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

  • Queensland.

    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)