The pomegranate butterfly Deudorix livia (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae): an emerging pest on dates in Tunisia.
The pomegranate butterfly Deudorix (=Virachola) livia Klug 1834 (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) was encountered for the first time infesting dates (Phoenix dactylifera, variety Deglet Nour) in the oasis of Gafsa, Southern Tunisia in September 2011. Larvae of D. livia only caused damage on date fruits at the phenological stages kimiri (green fruits) and khalal (yellow fruits). The average infestation rate of dates was 10%. In addition, 7.1% of the infested fruits dropped to the ground. Damage caused by this insect on dates is described, the current situation in Tunisia is provided and possible control methods in Tunisia are briefly discussed. Although this pest has previously been reported in Tunisia on pomegranate this is the first report of D. livia on dates in the country.