Defoliators of Pinus spp. (1)

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Apart from Lymantria ninayi, other moths have been recorded in large numbers defoliating Pinus: Lymantriidae moths like Lymantria rosa, L. novaguinensis, L. flavoneura, Calliteara queenslandica, Dasychira mendosa, some Saturniidae moths of the genus Syntherata, the Anthelidae moth Anthela ekeikei, the bag or case moths Pteroma plagiophleps and Cryptothelia sp. (Psychidae) as well as Alcis papuensis and Paradromulia nigrocellata (Geometridae). The cocoons or pupal cases made by the caterpillars of some of these species are shown below. Even though these species have the potential to cause outbreaks, their numbers were never high enough to cause severe problems as in the case of Lymantria ninayi. An outbreak of Alcis papuensis was confined to a smaller area and was therefore less tragic in terms of monetary loss. The small Alcis looper caterpillars bite each needle at one side only, so that the needle either breaks or hangs down and starts to wilt. When Alcis is abundant, the tree looks brown from a distance due to the many brown needles hanging from the tree. The lifecycle of this moth takes five weeks. As in Lymantria, Alcis populations are also affected by a Baculovirus.


top row: Pteroma plagiophleps (Psychidae), Anthela ekeikei (Anthelidae), Syntherata sp. (Saturniidae); bottom row: Dasychira mendosa (Lymantriidae), Calliteara queenslandica (Lymantriidae), Alcis papuensis (Geometridae), Paradromulia nigrocellata (Geometridae)

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Michael F. Schneider, 1999