Chilo partellus (spotted stem borer)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Plant Trade
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Chilo partellus (Swinhoe, 1885)
Preferred Common Name
- spotted stem borer
Other Scientific Names
- Argyria lutulentalis Tams, 1932
- Chilo zonellus (Swinhoe, 1884)
- Crambus zonellus
International Common Names
- English: durra stalk borer; pink borer; spotted sorghum stem borer; spotted stalk borer
- Spanish: barrenador manchado del tallo del sorgo; perforador
- French: pyrale tachée de la tige du sorgho
Local Common Names
- Germany: Stengelbohrer, Blassroter
- CHILZO (Chilo partellus)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Uniramia
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Lepidoptera
- Family: Crambidae
- Genus: Chilo
- Species: Chilo partellus
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Bhattacherjee (1971) described two subspecies of Chilo partellus: Chilo partellus acutus and Chilo partellus kanpurensis.
DescriptionTop of page
Eggs are scale-like, about 1.5 mm across, creamy-white and laid in overlapping batches.
Larvae are up to 25 mm long when fully grown, with a prominent reddish-brown head. The body is creamy-white to yellowish-brown, with four purple-brown longitudinal stripes and usually with very conspicuous dark-brown dorsal spots. The prothoracic shield is reddish-brown to dark-brown, shining and with a pale medial furrow. Prominent dark-brown plates give the larva its characteristic spotted appearance.
Female pupae are up to 15 mm long and male pupae are a few millimetres shorter. They are light yellow-brown to dark red-brown, with bands of small spines on the dorsal anterior margins of the fifth to seventh abdominal segments and with six dorsal spines and two large, thorn-like, flattened ventral spines on the last abdominal segment.
Bleszynski (1970) published technical descriptions of adults, including illustrated descriptions of the male and female genitalia.
Adults are relatively small moths with wing lengths ranging from 7 to 17 mm. Females are generally larger than males and both sexes rest with the wings folded over the abdomen. The forewings are generally light yellow-brown with some darker scale patterns forming longitudinal striations which are usually darker at the wing margins. The hindwings are white.
The male genitalia have a median, strong, tapering projection on the edge of the valve; the juxta plate has a large triangular central lobe, two basal notches and lateral arms not extending dorsally to the edge of the valve. The aedeagus has a bulbous basal projection and a ventral arm.
The female genitalia have a heavily sclerotized and swollen ostial pouch which is longitudinally wrinkled and deeply notched caudally between two semi-circular lobes. There is no bridge linking the ostial pouch with the eighth tergite, and the posterior apophyses are not dilated.
Also see Betbeder-Matibet (1990) for an illustrated data sheet on C. partellus.
DistributionTop of page
Distribution TableTop of page
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.Last updated: 12 May 2022
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Benin||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)|
|Eritrea||Present||Original citation: Haile Hofsvang (2001)|
|Réunion||Absent, Invalid presence record(s)|
|-Jammu and Kashmir||Present|
|Japan||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)|
|Taiwan||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
Growth StagesTop of page
SymptomsTop of page
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Fruit / external feeding|
|Fruit / internal feeding|
|Growing point / dead heart|
|Growing point / internal feeding; boring|
|Leaves / external feeding|
|Leaves / internal feeding|
|Stems / dead heart|
|Stems / internal feeding|
|Whole plant / dead heart|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
In Kenya, work at ICIPE has focused on larval movements (Berger, 1992); dispersal of early instars (Pats and Ekbom, 1992); flight periodicity (Pats and Wiktelius, 1992); and on pheromones (Lwande et al., 1993). In South Africa, work has been carried out at the Plant Protection Institute, Pretoria on duration of diapause (Kfir, 1991a); on seasonal abundance and parasitoids (Kfir, 1992); and on diapause termination (Kfir, 1993); studies have also been made at various locations in India.
Adults emerge from pupae in the late afternoon or early evening and are active at night. They rest on plants and plant debris during the day and are seldom seen, unless disturbed. Females release a pheromone to attract males (Nesbitt et al., 1979; Lwande et al., 1993) and mate soon after emergence. On two or three nights after emergence, each female lays up to a total of 200-600 scale-like overlapping eggs in 10-80 separate batches on the undersides of leaves, mostly near mid-ribs. Larvae hatch after 4-8 days, usually between 06.00 and 08.00 h, and initially feed in the leaf whorl. Subsequent larval instars tunnel into stems, eating out extensive galleries. Larval development is usually completed in 2-4 weeks. Larvae pupate in damaged stems and adults emerge 5-12 days later. The life cycle is completed in 25-50 days when climate and growing conditions are favourable. Five or more successive generations may develop in areas with suitable climates, such as southern India, but in less favourable areas larvae pass the winter or dry season in diapause in stems and stubble. They may remain inactive for up to six months, before pupating and completing their development early in the following growing season.
Biological and ecological studies that are of particular importance in understanding the factors that determine the pest status of C. partellus include Chapman et al. (1983) and Bernays et al. (1985) on survival and dispersal of first- and second-instar larvae on young sorghum plants; Woodhead and Taneja (1987) on larval behaviour and host-plant resistance in sorghum; Ampofo and Kidiavai (1987) on larval movements in maize; Alghali and Saxena (1988) on larval movement, feeding and development in sorghum; Rensburg et al. (1988) on larval infestations in maize; Alghali (1988) on oviposition in sorghum; Kumar (1988) on ovipositional responses in maize; and Sharma and Sharma (1987) on maize floral initiation and infestation.
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki||Pathogen||Arthropods|Larvae|
|Bacillus thuringiensis thuringiensis||Pathogen||Arthropods|Larvae|
|Cotesia flavipes||Parasite||Arthropods|Larvae||Comoros; Kenya; Pakistan; South Africa; Uganda; Tanzania||maize; sorghum|
|Cotesia sesamiae||Parasite||Arthropods|Larvae||Comoros; India||maize; sorghum|
|Dentichasmias busseolae||Parasite||Arthropods|Pupae||Comoro Islands; Kenya||maize|
|Eurytoma braconidis||Parasite||Arthropods|Larvae; Arthropods|Pupae|
|Invreia soudanensis||Parasite||Arthropods|Pupae||Comoro Islands|
|Itoplectis naranyae||Parasite||Comoro Islands|
|Pediobius furvus||Parasite||Arthropods|Pupae||Comoro Islands; Comoros; Kenya; Pakistan||maize; sorghum|
|Sturmiopsis inferens||Parasite||Arthropods|Larvae; Arthropods|Pupae|
|Sturmiopsis parasitica||Parasite||Arthropods|Larvae; Arthropods|Pupae|
|Tetrastichus atriclavus||Parasite||Eggs||Comoros||maize; sorghum|
|Tetrastichus howardi||Parasite||Arthropods|Pupae||South Africa|
|Trichogramma chilonis||Parasite||Eggs||Comoros; South Africa||maize|
|Xanthopimpla stemmator||Parasite||Arthropods|Pupae||South Africa|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
The importance of predators has not been fully assessed. Mohyuddin and Greathead (1970) noted the importance of ants as predators on eggs, larvae and pupae.
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Fruits (inc. pods)|
|Growing medium accompanying plants|
|True seeds (inc. grain)|
ImpactTop of page
In Asia, and in parts of Africa where it has become established, C. partellus is a major pest of maize, sorghum and pearl millet. It is generally less important on rice, sugarcane and other crops, although it may be locally troublesome. In southern Africa its importance is growing. Kfir (1997) shows how it had overtaken other stemborers even at higher altitudes than the coastal areas where it had first become established. In East Africa it is acquiring greater importance since it is proving more successful than indigenous congeners (Ofomata et al., 2000).
Reddy and Sum (1992) studied yield-infestation relationships of this species on maize in Kenya and determined economic injury levels, and Bate et al. (1992) developed predictive estimation of maize loss in South Africa. In India, Subhedar et al. (1992) have assessed avoidable losses caused by this species in grain sorghum.
Detection and InspectionTop of page
The presence of this species in older crops and in crop residues may be detected by taking random samples of stems or stools for dissection.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.Introduction
The main international research organizations working on the development of effective control of C. partellus are ICRISAT, in Asia and Africa, mainly for sorghum and pearl millet, and ICIPE in Kenya, mainly for maize and sorghum. Active national research programmes are also well established in India and South Africa. There seems to be little current interest in this species as a pest of rice or of any crops other than maize, sorghum and pearl millet. A review of control in Africa is included in Polaszek (1998).
The relevance of other stem borers must be considered in situations where more than one species is of importance, as on maize in East Africa and southern Africa.
Good crop hygiene, including the destruction of crop residues (stems and stubbles), and removal of volunteer crop plants and/or alternative hosts reduces carryover of diapausing larvae and active populations from one growing season to the next and will help to limit the most damaging attacks on young crops early in the growing season. Manipulation of sowing dates may also be used to avoid periods of peak adult activity.
Verma and Singh (1989) reviewed cultural control measures used against sorghum stem borers, which include time of sowing, crop rotation, tillage, plant spacing, water management, fertilizer management, removal of dead hearts, management of crop residues, field sanitation, mulching and intercropping.
Kfir (1990) assessed the prospects for cultural control of C. partellus (and Busseola fusca) in summer grain crops in South Africa.
Biological control by conservation, augmentation or introduction of natural enemies has potential, but has not been adequately researched. Greathead (1971) reviewed biological control attempts in tropical Africa, including the introduction of parasitoids for use against C. partellus and other species of Chilo. Ingram (1983) also reviewed the situation and noted the need for further critical ecological studies to determine more precisely which exotic parasitoid species are likely to be successfully introduced. Greathead (1990) reviewed the use of natural enemies against Chilo species in Africa and indicated possible lines of further development, including enhancement of the action of indigenous natural enemies by manipulation of the environment and the development of microbial biopesticides. Kfir (1991b, 1994) reported attempted classical biological control of C. partellus (and Busseola fusca) in South Africa by the introduction of egg, larval and pupal parasitoids and concluded that, because of adverse climatic and other factors, the prospect of satisfactory biological control by the introduction of exotic natural enemies is poor.
The efficacy of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauvaria bassiana as a control agent has been assessed on maize in Kenya (Maniania, 1993); formulations of the protozoan Nosema marucae have also been evaluated (Odindo and Mbai, 1993). A new species, Nosema partelli, has been described from C. partellus in South Africa (Walters and Kfir, 1993). Four commercial preparations of Bacillus thuringiensis have also been evaluated in laboratory trials against C. partellus (Brownbridge and Onyango, 1992 a,b).
Plant breeding for resistance or tolerance is generally considered to be the best long-term method of control and much work has been done to identify and use sources of resistance, especially in maize and sorghum. ICRISAT has developed screening procedures for sorghum (Leuschner, 1989), and some progress has been made in breeding for resistance (Agrawal and Taneja, 1989) and in understanding mechanisms of resistance (Taneja and Woodhead, 1989). Gethi and Mihm (1997) reviewed progress in East Africa.
Chemical control is effective in some circumstances but is inappropriate in much of Africa and Asia. Kishore (1989) reviewed recent research and recommendations for chemical control of stem borers on sorghum and maize in India and South Africa and concluded that control can be achieved by applications of granules or dusts to the leaf whorl early in crop growth to kill early larval instars. This method reduces pollution and limits harmful effects on non-target organisms.
Rensburg et al. (1991) reported on progress towards cost-effective control of C. partellus and other pests on maize in South Africa.
Integrated Pest Management
The development of IPM programmes against C. partellus is complicated by the fact that it is only one of a number of species of lepidopterous stem borers that attack its main crop hosts. Biological and ecological differences between these species affect their relative importance on different crops and at different localities. IPM programmes must therefore be developed at local levels to meet local needs. There seem to be few cases where this has actually been achieved.
The components of the female pheromone have been identified (Nesbitt et al., 1979). The possible uses of pheromones to monitor and control stem borers were reviewed by Campion and Nesbitt (1983). They concluded that control by mass trapping is unlikely to be effective, but that control by mating disruption had shown encouraging results and might be used effectively on rice, maize and sugarcane grown under plantation conditions.
No formal phytosanitary measures have been developed against C. partellus and its introduction to Africa from Asia, possibly by introduction of larvae or pupae in infested cereal or grass stems, pre-dates the establishment of phytosanitary services in Africa. Prevention of further spread within Africa might be attempted by controlling the movement of larvae and pupae in stems but, although the species is not known to be a migrant, it seems likely that adults may at times disperse over long distances, and it is impossible to prevent such movements.
ReferencesTop of page
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