Diaphania indica (Saunders, 1851)
Cucumber Moth
(formerly known as Eudioptis indica)
SPILOMELINAE ,   CRAMBIDAE ,   PYRALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Diaphania indica
(Photo: courtesy of Bishop Museum, Hawaii)

This Caterpillar is green with a pale line along each side of its back. The caterpillar is a pest on various members of the plant family CUCURBITACEAE, such as:

  • Pumpkin ( Cucunis pepo ),
  • Cucumber ( Cucumis sativus ), and
  • Melon ( Cucumis melo ),

    although it is also known to attack

  • Levant Cotton ( Gossypium herbaceum, MALVACEAE ), and
  • Coral Tree ( Erythrina corollodendron, FABACEAE ).

    Diaphania indica
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of John Stumm)

    The adult moths have transparent wings with broad dark brown borders. The moths have a wing span of about 2.5 cms. There is a tuft of brown hairs on the tip of the abdomen.

    Diaphania indica
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Debbie Bray, Charters Towers, Queensland)

    The tuft on the end of the abdomen of the female is rather bushier than that of the male. Unfertilised females are quite amusing as they are inclined to keep wiggling this tuft in a figure of eight, presumably to better disperse a pheromone which they emit, in order to attract a male. The chemical nature of the pheromones has been identified.

    Diaphania indica
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Trevor Jinks, Queensland)

    The species occurs in Asia and the south Pacific, including:

  • China,
  • Galapagos Islands,
  • India,
  • Indonesia,
  • Japan,
  • Pakistan,
  • Sri Lanka,
  • Taiwan, and
  • Yemen,

    as well as over much of tropical and sub-tropical Australia, including:

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

    Diaphania indica
    Kiribati, 1994


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 9.19, pp. 66, 356.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 36.

    William Wilson Saunders,
    Insects Injurious to the Cotton Plant,
    Transactions of the Entomological Society of London,
    Series 2, Volume 1 (1851), p. 163-164.


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    (updated 1 May 2012, 27 January 2013, 13 April 2015)