Infestation of the invasive exotic moth Hyblaea puera (Lepidoptera: Hyblaeidae) in Avicennia L. (Acanthaceae) in the mangrove of the Mamanguape River, Paraíba, Brazil.
Outbreaks of caterpillars have been recorded in some mangrove forests in Brazil and other countries. This study reports an infestation of Hyblaea puera caterpillars (Cramer, 1777) (Lepidoptera: Hyblaeidae) in the mangrove forest of the Mamanguape River, Paraíba State, Brazil. The attacks occurred between May and July 2020 and affected Avicennia germinans (L.) L. and Avicennia schaueriana Stapf & Leechm. ex Moldenke. During the caterpillar outbreak period, the foliar herbivory rate was > 50% in both species. Throughout the distribution area of the species in the estuary, there was variation in the intensity of caterpillar infestation: from the absence of attack to the complete defoliation of the trees in mono-specific forests of A. germinans. The consequences of severe defoliation are briefly discussed, emphasizing mangrove conservation.