Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Megastes grandalis
(sweet potato moth)



Megastes grandalis (sweet potato moth)


  • Last modified
  • 21 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Megastes grandalis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • sweet potato moth
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta

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TitleAdult M. grandalis (museum set specimen)
Copyright©David Agassiz
Adult M. grandalis (museum set specimen)©David Agassiz


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Megastes grandalis Guenée

Preferred Common Name

  • sweet potato moth

International Common Names

  • English: sweet potato stem borer
  • Spanish: barrenador del tallo del camote; potilla de la batata

EPPO code

  • MEGEGR (Megastes grandalis)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Lepidoptera
  •                         Family: Pyralidae
  •                             Genus: Megastes
  •                                 Species: Megastes grandalis

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.

Last updated: 23 Apr 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

North America

Costa RicaPresentEPPO (2020)
PanamaPresentNHM (Undated)
Trinidad and TobagoPresentCOWLAND (1926); EPPO (2020)

South America

ArgentinaPresentRizzo and Vetrano (1983)
BrazilPresentCOWLAND (1926); EPPO (2020)
-Sao PauloPresentNHM (Undated)
French GuianaPresent, Few occurrencesNHM (Undated)
GuyanaPresentEPPO (2020)
PeruPresentNHM (Undated)
VenezuelaPresentEPPO (2020)

Growth Stages

Top of page Fruiting stage, Vegetative growing stage

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Leaves / abnormal leaf fall
Roots / internal feeding
Vegetative organs / internal feeding
Whole plant / dwarfing
Whole plant / internal feeding

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Masicera abdominalis Parasite Larvae
Sarcodexia sternodontis Parasite Larvae
Trichogramma minutum Parasite Larvae
Xyphostoma azteca Parasite Larvae

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes larvae Yes Pest or symptoms usually invisible
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Fruits (inc. pods)
Growing medium accompanying plants
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches
True seeds (inc. grain)


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Cowland JW, 1926. Notes on the sweet potato moth Megastes grandalis Guen. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 16:369-372.

EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.

Lowe SB; Wilson LA, 1972. Preliminary evidence for the existence of differential susceptibility to Megastes grandalis (Guen) infestation in West Indian sweet potato cultivars. Tropical Agriculture, 49(4):361-362

Munroe EG, 1985. In: Heppner JB, ed. Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera. Checklist, Part 2, Hyblaioidea - Pyraloidea - Tortricoidea. Gainesville, USA: Association for Tropical Lepidoptera.

Rizzo HF; Vetrano AS, 1983. Communication on the sweet potato moth. IDIA, No. 409/412:35-37

Distribution Maps

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