Niphograpta albiguttalis (Warren, 1889)
Water Hyacinth Borer
(formerly known as Epichronistis albiguttalis)
SPILOMELINAE ,   CRAMBIDAE ,   PYRALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Bart Hacobian & Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center)

These Caterpillars and pale brown or green with rows of dark warts along the body, and a dark head. The caterpillars feed by boring into the shoots and leaves of:

  • Water Hyacinth ( Eichhornia crassipes, PONTEDERIACEAE ),

    which is a serious weed problem on tropical waterways. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 2 cms. They pupate in their borehole in the shoot of their foodplant.


    (oops: no antennae on this one)

    The adult moth has brown forewings with a variable complex light and dark pattern, usually with a white mark near the middle of each costa. The hindwings are yellow with a broad brown patterned margin and a dark spot in the middle. The females are darker and larger than the males. The wingspan is about 2 cms.


    (oops : no abdomen either on this one)
    (Specimen: courtesy of The Australian Museum)

    This species originally comes from South America. It was introduced deliberately other countries, including Australia in 1977, to help control the Water Hyacinths there. Later it was introduced into Africa and Asia for the same reason.

    The species can be found now in

  • Brazil,
  • Nigeria,
  • Thailand,
  • U.S.A.,

    and also in Australia in

  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, p. 72.

    William Warren,
    On the Pyralidina collected in 1874 and 1875 by Dr. J.W.H. Trail in the Basin of the Amazons,
    Transactions of the Entomological Society of London,
    1889, p. 289.


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    (updated 21 March 2008)