Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Chilo suppressalis
(striped rice stem borer)



Chilo suppressalis (striped rice stem borer)


  • Last modified
  • 20 February 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Chilo suppressalis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • striped rice stem borer
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • This is one of the most important pests of rice in East Asia, India and Indonesia. In East Asia, C. suppressalis occurs together with Chilo hyrax and Chilo christophi. This pest was probably introdu...

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Male and female moths are light brown with silvery scales and a row of 7 or 8 small black dots at the terminal margin of each front wing.
CaptionMale and female moths are light brown with silvery scales and a row of 7 or 8 small black dots at the terminal margin of each front wing.
CopyrightMerle Shepard
Male and female moths are light brown with silvery scales and a row of 7 or 8 small black dots at the terminal margin of each front wing.
AdultMale and female moths are light brown with silvery scales and a row of 7 or 8 small black dots at the terminal margin of each front wing.Merle Shepard
Left, striped stemborer adult; 
right, larvae inside rice stems.
TitleAdult and larvae
CaptionLeft, striped stemborer adult; right, larvae inside rice stems.
CopyrightLeft, B. Merle Shepard; right, Roy Bateman
Left, striped stemborer adult; 
right, larvae inside rice stems.
Adult and larvaeLeft, striped stemborer adult; right, larvae inside rice stems.Left, B. Merle Shepard; right, Roy Bateman
TitleAdult - line drawing
CopyrightDennis S. Hill
Adult - line drawingDennis S. Hill


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Chilo suppressalis (Walker, 1863)

Preferred Common Name

  • striped rice stem borer

Other Scientific Names

  • Chilo oryzae Fletcher, 1926-27
  • Chilo simplex Butler, 1877
  • Chilo simplex Hudson, 1895
  • Crambus suppressalis Walker, 1863
  • Jartheza simplex Butler, 1880

International Common Names

  • English: Asiatic rice borer; pale-headed striped borer; purple-lined borer; rice borer (Asia); rice chilo; rice stalk borer; rice stem borer; SSB; striped rice stalk borer; striped rice stalkborer; striped rice stem borer; sugarcane moth borer
  • Spanish: barrenador del arroz; barrenador oriental del arroz; barrenador rayado del arroz; barreno; taladrador asiático del arroz
  • French: perceur asiatique du riz; pyrale du riz; pyrale rayée du riz; pyrale rouillee

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Bohrer, Gestreifter Reis-; Gestreifter Reisstengelbohrer; Stengelbohrer, Gestreifter Reis-
  • Israel: norer haorez
  • Japan: nika-meityu
  • Netherlands: gestreepte rijstboorer

EPPO code

  • CHILSU (Chilo suppressalis)

Summary of Invasiveness

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This is one of the most important pests of rice in East Asia, India and Indonesia. In East Asia, C. suppressalis occurs together with Chilo hyrax and Chilo christophi. This pest was probably introduced in Spain and Hawaii by humans (Bleszynski, 1970). It is now also present in the Northern Territory of Australia. The species tolerates low to very low temperatures and is therefore present in temperate and subtropical Asia. This low temperature tolerance enables it to adapt to other regions. The fact that C. suppressalis has become established in France, Spain and Portugal indicates the potential for long-distance movements and there would seem to be a real danger that it could be introduced into Africa, or other ecologically favourable areas.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Lepidoptera
  •                         Family: Crambidae
  •                             Genus: Chilo
  •                                 Species: Chilo suppressalis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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C. suppressalis was first described and named by Walker in 1863 and has a long and confused taxonomic history. Bleszynski (1970) gave a full list of its many synonyms. References to Chilo simplex (Butler) in the earlier literature from Asia relate to Chilo suppressalis.


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Hattori and Siwi (1986) published an account of the morphology, incidence and distribution of C. suppressalis in Indonesia, together with field keys for the identification of adults, larvae and pupae. Various stages are also illustrated and described in a number of publications, including Grist and Lever (1969), Litsinger (1977), Kalshoven and Laan (1981), and Vreden and Ahmadzabidi (1986). Reissig et al. (1986) included this species in an illustrated guide for IPM in rice in tropical Asia.


Eggs are scale-like, about 0.9 x 0.5 mm, and translucent-white to dark-yellow. They are laid in flat, naked clusters of overlapping rows containing up to 60 eggs.


First-instar larvae are greyish-white with a black head and prothoracic shield and are about 1.5 mm long when first hatched. The head capsule of later instars is brown and full-grown larvae are about 20-26 mm long. They are dirty-white, with five longitudinal purplish-brown stripes running down the dorsal surface of the body.


Pupae are reddish-brown, about 9-14 mm long, and have two ribbed crests on the pronotal margins and two short horns on the head. The cremaster on the last abdominal segment bears several spines.


Bleszynski (1970) published an illustrated technical description of this species, including diagnostic characters separating it from related species. Forewings are 11-14 mm long with ground-colour varying from dirty-white to yellow-brown, variably sprinkled with grey-brown scales. There are no metallic scales and the median oblique brown line is often reduced, especially in light-coloured specimens. The hindwings are white to yellowish-brown. The male genitalia have a juxta plate with symmetrical arms, distinctly swollen near the apices and without subapical teeth, and the aedeagus has a long, thin ventral arm and no bulbous basal projection. The female genitalia have a heavily sclerotized ostial pouch and a distinct elongate signum with median ridge.


Top of page C. suppressalis ranges from Australasia and the Pacific Islands through Asia to Europe (where it was probably accidentally introduced). The map also illustrates the countries where it has been formally recorded (see also CIE, 1977; Waterhouse, 1993). Bleszynski (1970) noted that records of C. suppressalis from Egypt and Israel related to Chilo agamemnon.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


BangladeshPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
Brunei DarussalamPresentNative Invasive Waterhouse, 1993; EPPO, 2014
CambodiaPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; Waterhouse, 1993; EPPO, 2014
ChinaWidespreadNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
-AnhuiPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-BeijingPresentHan et al., 2009
-FujianPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-GuangdongPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-GuangxiPresentXue et al., 2007
-HebeiPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-HeilongjiangPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-HenanPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-Hong KongPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
-HubeiPresentPeng et al., 2006
-HunanPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-JiangsuPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-JiangxiPresentCao et al., 2004
-JilinPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-LiaoningPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-Nei MengguPresentLi et al., 2009
-ShandongPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-ShanghaiPresentJiang et al., 2005
-SichuanPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-ZhejiangPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
IndiaWidespreadNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
-Andhra PradeshPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-AssamPresentPujari et al., 2008
-BiharPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-GujaratPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-Indian PunjabPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-KarnatakaPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-KeralaPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-MaharashtraPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-OdishaPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-RajasthanPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-Tamil NaduPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-Uttar PradeshPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
IndonesiaWidespreadNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-Irian JayaPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
-JavaPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
-SulawesiPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
-SumatraPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
IranPresentCIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014; Jalaeian et al., 2017
IraqPresentEPPO, 2014
JapanWidespreadNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
-HokkaidoPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-HonshuPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-KyushuPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
-ShikokuPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
Korea, DPRPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
Korea, Republic ofPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
LaosWidespreadNative Invasive CIE, 1977; Waterhouse, 1993; EPPO, 2014
MalaysiaWidespreadNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-SabahPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
-SarawakPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
MyanmarPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
NepalPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
PakistanPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
PhilippinesPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; Waterhouse, 1993; EPPO, 2014
Sri LankaPresentNative Invasive EPPO, 2014
TaiwanPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; Waterhouse, 1993; EPPO, 2014
ThailandPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; Waterhouse, 1993; EPPO, 2014
VietnamPresentNative Invasive CIE, 1977; Waterhouse, 1993; EPPO, 2014


EgyptAbsent, invalid recordEPPO, 2014
MalawiAbsent, invalid recordEPPO, 2014
TanzaniaAbsent, unreliable recordEPPO, 2014

North America

MexicoAbsent, unreliable recordEPPO, 2014
USARestricted distributionIntroducedEPPO, 2014
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedEPPO, 2014

South America

GuyanaAbsent, unreliable recordEPPO, 2014


FranceRestricted distributionIntroducedCIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
HungaryPresentSzeo?ke, 2006; EPPO, 2014
PortugalWidespreadIntroduced Invasive CIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
Russian FederationRestricted distributionIntroducedEPPO, 2014
-Eastern SiberiaAbsent, invalid recordEPPO, 2014
-Russian Far EastPresentNativeEPPO, 2014
-Western SiberiaAbsent, invalid recordEPPO, 2014
SpainRestricted distributionIntroducedCIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
-Spain (mainland)Restricted distributionIntroduced


AustraliaPresentIntroducedCIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroducedEPPO, 2014
FijiAbsent, unreliable recordEPPO, 2014
Papua New GuineaRestricted distributionIntroducedCIE, 1977; EPPO, 2014

Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Present, no further details
Wetlands Present, no further details

Hosts/Species Affected

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The main host plant of C. suppressalis is rice, but it has also been recorded from maize and from many wild hosts, including Panicum miliaceum, Echinochloa spp., Phragmites australis [P. communis], Saccharum fuscum [Sclerostachya fusca], Typha latifolia and Zizania aquatica.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage


Top of page The most obvious field symptoms of C. suppressalis are 'dead hearts', produced when stem borer larvae kill the growing points of young shoots, and 'white heads', caused by interference with inflorescence development. Stems weakened by stem borers may also lodge. There are other possible causes of all of these symptoms and samples of stems should be dissected to establish that stem borers are responsible for the damage.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Growing point / dead heart
Growing point / dwarfing; stunting
Growing point / external feeding
Growing point / internal feeding; boring
Growing point / rot
Leaves / abnormal forms
Leaves / external feeding
Leaves / internal feeding
Leaves / necrotic areas
Stems / dead heart
Stems / external feeding
Stems / internal feeding
Stems / rot
Stems / stunting or rosetting
Whole plant / dead heart

Biology and Ecology

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Jepson (1954) reviewed the earlier literature on C. suppressalis; more recent summaries of information include Pathak (1968), Grist and Lever (1969), Litsinger (1977), Kalshoven and Laan (1981), Vreden and Ahmadzabidi (1986), Hill (1987), and Harris (1990). Reissig et al. (1986) include this species in an illustrated guide for rice IPM in tropical Asia. Additional information and references to recent work on C. suppressalis are available in Rice Abstracts and in the International Rice Research Newsletter, reflecting its major importance as a pest of rice.

C. suppressalis is adapted to temperate climatic conditions and larvae survive low winter temperatures in Japan, China and other northern areas. This is in marked contrast to most other species of Chilo, which are restricted to tropical or sub-tropical regions. Adults are nocturnal and become active early in the evening; adults survive for up to a week in field conditions, with females generally living longer than males. Males emerge before females and are attracted to them by pheromones (Nesbitt et al., 1975). Each female lays 100-550 eggs, usually in batches of 60-70 eggs over a period of 3-5 nights. These are laid mainly on the basal halves of leaves and occasionally on leaf sheaths.

After hatching, larvae cluster beneath the leaf sheaths and later enter the stems to feed. Some early larval instars may disperse to other plants by ballooning on extruded silk threads or by floating on leaf fragments. Several larvae may feed together within a single internode of a plant and they live in a moist pulp of chewed plant debris and frass. They pupate within stems, having first prepared an exit hole from which the adult will emerge.

In the tropics, normal development times are: egg (5 to 6 days); larva (30 days); pupa (6 days). The life cycle is completed in 35-60 days; in favourable conditions up to six generations develop in a year, often overlapping where rice cropping is continuous. In colder climates, final instars remain dormant during the winter. The wide range of C. suppressalis, which extends from the tropics to about 40° N, creates substantial variations in the length of development; in northern Asia, development may take more than a year. The availability of hosts and the occurrence of favourable temperatures determine the number of generations in a year and the extent of population build-up. Mortality may be high in years with mild winters and early springs, which result in eggs being laid on small plants that are unable to support larval development. More eggs are laid on lush rice plants, especially those receiving high rates of nitrogenous fertilizer. Chen et al. (1984a, b; 1987), working in China, studied the spatial distribution of larvae in rice fields and developed life tables for field and laboratory populations. Shen (1983), also working in China, has analysed data collected over 15 years in Henan to determine the key factors affecting overwintering populations and has developed equations to predict outbreaks. In Japan, Kanno (1984) studied mating behaviour and Nozato (1987) studied effects of temperature and day length on seasonal development. In Korea, Kim et al. (1988) analysed light-trap catches monitoring population trends from 1966-1987. Ryoo and Lee (1985) studied larval aggregation patterns and Uhm et al. (1986) reported local differences in post-diapause development after overwintering. In the Philippines, where much work has been done at the International Rice Research Institute, Heinrichs et al. (1986) studied population development on traditional and modern rice cultivars.


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As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Anagrus optabilis Parasite Eggs
Apanteles chelonis Parasite Larvae
Argiope catenulata Predator Adults
Auberteterus alternecoloratus Parasite Hawaii rice
Aulacocentrum philippinense Parasite Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis
Bacillus thuringiensis darmstadiensis Pathogen France
Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis thuringiensis Pathogen Larvae
Beauveria bassiana Pathogen Larvae
Bracon onukii Parasite Larvae
Cantheconidia furcellata Predator
Cardiastethus Predator
Chelonus munakatae Parasite Eggs/Larvae Indonesia rice
Cotesia chilonis Parasite Larvae Hawaii; Indonesia rice
Cotesia flavipes Parasite Larvae Malaysia; Sarawak rice
Cotesia ruficrus Parasite Larvae
Cotesia schoenobii Parasite Larvae
Cremastus chinensis Parasite Hawaii rice
Diadegma terebrans Parasite
Eriborus sinicus Parasite Larvae Hawaii rice
Erynia delphacis Pathogen
Erynia radicans Pathogen
Granulosis virus Pathogen
Iridovirus Pathogen Larvae
Itoplectis naranyae Parasite Larvae
Lyctocoris beneficus Predator Larvae
Lydella scirpophagae Parasite Larvae
Megaselia scalaris Parasite
Metagonistylum minense Parasite Larvae Philippines rice
Metarhizium anisopliae Pathogen
Metioche vittaticollis Predator Eggs/Larvae
Microgaster russata Parasite Larvae
Myosoma chinensis Parasite Larvae/Pupae Hawaii; Malaysia; Sarawak rice
Myosoma onukii Parasite Larvae
Nucleopolyhedrosis virus Pathogen
Paecilomyces farinosus Pathogen Larvae
Pristomerus chilonis Parasite
Spathius helle Parasite Larvae Japan rice
Stenobracon deesae Parasite Larvae
Sturmiopsis inferens Parasite Larvae Philippines rice
Telenomus chilocolus Parasite Eggs
Telenomus dignus Parasite Eggs Hawaii; Malaysia; Sarawak rice
Telenomus rowani Parasite Eggs Malaysia; Sarawak rice
Temelucha biguttula Parasite Larvae
Tetrastichus howardi Parasite Larvae/Pupae
Tetrastichus israeli Parasite Malaysia; Sarawak rice
Tetrastichus schoenobii Parasite Eggs
Trathala biguttulatus Parasite Pupae
Trathala flavoorbitalis Parasite Pupae
Trichogramma chilonis Parasite Eggs
Trichogramma chilotraeae Parasite Eggs
Trichogramma dendrolimi Parasite
Trichogramma evanescens Parasite Eggs
Trichogramma fasciatum Parasite Eggs Philippines rice
Trichogramma japonicum Parasite Eggs Hawaii; Malaysia; Sarawak; Philippines rice
Trichogramma maidis Parasite Eggs
Trichogramma minutum Parasite Eggs Philippines rice
Trichogramma pintoi Parasite Eggs
Trichogramma rhenanum Parasite Eggs
Trichogrammatoidea australicum Parasite Eggs Hawaii; Philippines rice
Tropobracon schoenobii Parasite Larvae/Pupae
Xanthopimpla punctata Parasite Pupae
Xanthopimpla stemmator Parasite Pupae
Xylocoris galactinus Predator Larvae

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page Many natural enemies have been reported in the literature on C. suppressalis. Of these, parasitic Hymenoptera, carabid beetles, spiders and some pathogens may be of importance in limiting populations. No completely authoritative, definitive list is available and elucidation of the many names that have been applied, especially to parasitic Hymenoptera, requires taxonomic inputs to determine their validity. Grist and Lever (1969) reported that Trichogramma australicum in Indonesia and Mauritius and Trichogramma japonicum in Japan, China and Hawaii effect some control of the eggs, and that larval parasitoids include Cotesia flavipes, Cotesia chilonis, Stenobracon deesae, Trathala flavoorbitalis, Temelucha biguttulatus and Xanthopimpla punctata. An anthocorid, Cardiastethus sp. and various species of carabid have been recorded as predators in Japan and the yellow muscardine fungus, Isaria farinosa, has been one of the most important factors controlling overwintering larvae there. Kalshoven and Laan (1981) reported a Trichogramma species parasitizing almost 100% of egg clusters in Java and noted that the tachinid Sturmiopsis inferens Townsend had been recorded from C. suppressalis in Malaysia and was also present on Chilo in Java. Shepard et al. (1987) have published an illustrated field guide to natural enemies of rice pests, which includes some references to stem borers, and Vreden and Ahmadzabidi (1986) published a good illustrated account of the natural enemies of rice pests in Peninsular Malaysia that includes predators, parasitoids and pathogens of rice stem borers.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

This species can be dispersed within rice areas, via the wind and/or active flight.

Vector Transmission

Waterbirds can occasionally carry the eggs.

Accidental Introduction

The eggs can be carried on plant material.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Breeding and propagation Yes Yes
Crop production Yes Yes
Flooding and other natural disasters Yes
Nursery trade Yes Yes
People sharing resources Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Plants or parts of plantsEggs, larvae Yes Yes

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx eggs; larvae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Leaves adults; eggs; larvae; nymphs; pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches adults; eggs; larvae; nymphs; pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Fruits (inc. pods)
Growing medium accompanying plants
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants
True seeds (inc. grain)

Impact Summary

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Economic/livelihood Negative
Environment (generally) Negative


Top of page According to Grist and Lever (1969), C. suppressalis has been known for many years as one of the most serious pests of rice in the Far East. Waterhouse (1993), in a review of the major pests of agriculture in South-East Asia, ranks it as very widespread and very important in Indonesia; widespread and important in Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines and important locally in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. Kiritani (1990) reviewed recent population trends in temperate and subtropical Asia and reported a trend towards declining C. suppressalis populations in Japan, Korea and Taiwan over the past 35 years. Possible causes were early planting (associated with the use of high-tillering varieties), intensive use of pesticides, early harvesting and increasing mechanization.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
  • Difficult/costly to control

Detection and Inspection

Top of page Infestations of C. suppressalis in rice crops may be detected by looking for dead hearts in young crops and white heads in older crops. Stems showing symptoms should then be dissected to retrieve larvae and pupae in order to rear adults for positive identification. Reissig et al. (1986) describe scouting methods to detect egg masses of this and other stem borers of rice at tiller elongation and panicle extension, which are the two most vulnerable growth stages.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page C. suppressalis resembles many other species of Chilo in external adult and larval characters, but can be distinguished by examination of the male and female genitalia. According to Bleszynski (1970), it is most similar to Chilo niponella and Chilo christophi, but is generally smaller and has a more distinct pattern on the forewings.

Prevention and Control

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The literature on control of C. suppressalis is extensive. Grist and Lever (1969) and Litsinger (1977) provided brief summaries of the main methods, but the primary literature should be consulted for details. In many rice-growing areas, C. suppressalis is only one of a number of species of lepidopterous stem borer attacking the crop; the relative importance of these species will influence decisions on control, which must be based on local conditions.

Cultural Control

Carryover of populations of larvae and pupae from one cropping period to the next can be minimized by flooding and harrowing or ploughing to turn in stubble and straw and by destruction of any volunteer rice plants that will provide breeding sites between crops. During the cropping period various measures may be used, depending on local conditions. These include regulation of time of planting to avoid periods of peak adult activity (Rustamani et al., 1995), the use of early-maturing varieties to limit the development period of the pest on the crop, and synchronization of plantings and removal of stems close to the ground at harvest so that the borer larvae and pupae are removed with the straw. Studies on the relationship between transplanting times and N-P-K fertilizers were conducted in Korea for different rice pests. Results showed different levels of infestation, but C. suppressalis was strongly influenced by earlier transplanting times (Ma KyoungChul and Lee SeungChan, 1996). Studies on differences between machine transplanted and direct seeded rice showed no difference in the incidence of the pest, only the moment of transplanting was important (Lee SeungChan and Ma KyoungChul, 1997).

Biological Control

Classical biological control has been attempted by introducing the tachinid Paratheresia claripalpis (from South America) into Malaysia and the ichneumonid Eriborus sinicus from Asia to Hawaii (Grist and Lever, 1969), but the main emphasis in biological control at present is through conservation and enhancement of indigenous natural enemies. The most important of these are parasitic Hymenoptera, some parasitic tachinids, and general predators, such as spiders. Some of these are illustrated in Shepard et al. (1987) and Reissig et al. (1986). A survey was conducted in China to compare parasitism in single rice, double rice and wild rice fields. Not only were there differences between the localities, but also in the species composition. The highest parasitism rate was observed in wild rice fields (Jiang MingXing et al., 1999).

Host-Plant Resistance

Much work has been done over many years, especially in Japan and the Philippines, and is continuing in these and other Asian countries. Some highly resistant varieties are known: for example, TKM 6, Taitung 16, Chianan 2, Su-Yai 20, Szu-Mizo, Yabami Montakhab 55, CV 136 and PTB 10. Semi-dwarf varieties, such as IR 20 and IR 26, are moderately resistant. The latest aspects of biotechnology in the development of insect resistance rice are discussed by Katiyar et al. (1999). Physical factors affecting larval survival include the tightness with which the leaf sheath adheres to the stem, the diameter of the stem and its lumen and the amount of sclerenchymatous tissue present. Plants with a high proportion of sclerenchyma, often associated with ridged stems, are less susceptible to boring by larvae. The presence of high percentages of silica in the stems is also linked to varietal resistance.

Transgenic Plants

Several studies have been conducted on the identification of binding sites in Bacillus thuringiensis (Attathom et al., 1995; Fiuza et al., 1996; Lee MiKyong et al., 1997). Transgenic rice plants showed increased resistance in small-scale field tests (Xu DePing et al., 1996) and similar results were obtained on the laboratory (Mochizuki et al., 1999). A larger scale trial using 2600 trangenic rice plants showed promising results in obtaining insect resistant rice plants (Cheng XiongYing et al., 1998).

Chemical Control

Many chemicals have been used against C. suppressalis and other rice stem borers, but the overuse of chemical insecticides has caused severe pest outbreaks, such as that of the brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens, and is now generally considered to be an unsuitable control method. Grist and Lever (1969) reviewed information available up to that date. The use of insect growth regulators is an important development (Nakagawa et al., 1995; Nakagawa, 1996; Shimizu et al., 1997). Tebufenozide (moulting accelerating insecticide) proved to be as efficient as organophosphorous insecticides in Spain and pyrethroids in France. It has the advantage of being low in fish and avian toxicity as well as safe to beneficials. Compatibility with other commonly used herbicides is an added advantage (Mattioda and Jousseaume, 1999). The use of pesticides poses problems in Asia where mulberry trees, which are used for the cultivation of Bombyx mori, are usually planted around rice fields. Insecticides were screened for control of C. suppressalis in rice, but low toxicity to B. mori (Liu GuangJie et al., 1999).

Pheromonal Control

Campion and Nesbitt (1983) reviewed the results of field tests in the Philippines, Korea, Japan, Iran and France and discussed the possibilities of using pheromones against this and other stem borers. They concluded that mass trapping is unlikely to provide satisfactory control, but that the development of mating disruption techniques against C. suppressalis merited further study. Since then, Guo et al. (1992) have reported the use of synthetic pheromone to disrupt mating of this species in a field trial in China. Differences in the monitoring range of sex pheromones were observed by Tsuchida and Ichihashi (1995) in Japan. The range seemed to be narrower in the second flight season than in the first one, probably because of competition between virgin females. Kondo and Tanaka (1995) observed a linear relationship between the total number of catches using pheromone traps and the proportion of injured rice plant stems. Thus, it appeared that rice plant damage could be estimated using pheromone trap catches. A more detailed threshold was worked out by Kojima et al. (1996).

Integrated Pest Management

This is now the preferred method of control for pests of rice. Teng (1994) recorded that large-scale implementation of rice IPM was stimulated in the 1970s in several Asian countries by pest resurgences resulting from the indiscriminate use of insecticides. Five countries have now enacted legislation to support IPM. The inter-country programme of FAO, the UN, IRRI and national services is developing implementation, which is based on host-plant resistance, location-specific cultural practices and conservation of natural enemies.

Phytosanitary Measures

Formal phytosanitary measures against this species have not been formulated, but general phytosanitary measures should be implemented to limit the possible spread of eggs, larvae or pupae on infested plant material. The fact that C. suppressalis has become established in France, Spain and Portugal indicates the potential for long-distance movements and there would seem to be a real danger that it could be introduced into Africa, or other ecologically favourable areas.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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This is a typical pest species with the ability to invade other rice growing areas with the same or similar temperature and humidity characteristics. Unfortunately there is very little information on these aspects in the current literature. Literature is mostly based on pest control and resistance, but not on distribution, or identification of specimens collected in areas outside the current distribution. The lack of taxonomists for identification will prove a serious obstacle for having more information on distribution.


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Links to Websites

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Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health
CSIRO Entomology
University of Technology Sydney


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Bangladesh: International Rice Research Institution (IRRI), House-30H, Road-10B, Banani, Dhaka-1213, Dhaka, Bangladesh,


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22/11/2007 Updated by:

Koen Maes, Consultant, Belgium

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