Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Pumpkin caterpillar, Margaronia indica (Saunders) in cucurbits in Gujarat.

Abstract

An upsurge of pumpkin caterpillar, Margaronia indica (syn. Diaphania indica), hitherto only a minor pest, was observed during July 2003 and 2004 in bitter gourd (Momordica charantia), little gourd (Coccinia indica [C. grandis]) and pointed gourd (Trichosanthes dioica) orchards located in the villages of Vasad, Bhetasi and Sudan in Anand district, Gujarat, India. The incidence of the pest was very high in both years, with the highest infestation being observed in little gourd, followed by bitter gourd and then pointed gourd. Young larvae fed on chlorophyll and skeletonized the leaves of all three cucurbits. Older larvae folded and webbed together the leaves and fed from within. Both young and old larvae were observed feeding on flowers and boring into ovaries, new tender shoots, and young, developing and mature fruits in the case of little gourd and bitter gourd. Survey in the third week of July 2004 showed 2 to 3 larvae per fruit in bitter gourd and 4 to 5 larvae per fruit in little gourd. Damage to the fruit was 90 and 60% in these crops, respectively. In the case of pointed gourd, damage by larvae was restricted to leaves and ranged from 25 to 30% only. Common mynah (Acridotheres tristis) and cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) were the birds found preying on larvae of Margaronia indica.