Prays citri (citrus flower moth)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Prays citri Millière
Preferred Common Name
- citrus flower moth
Other Scientific Names
- Acrolepia citri Millière
International Common Names
- Spanish: pallomilla de las flores; polilla de los agrios; polilla de los cítricos
- French: teigne des fleurs de l'oranger; teigne des fleurs d'oranger
- Portuguese: traca do limoeiro
Local Common Names
- Germany: Motte, Citrus-; Motte, Zitrus-
- Israel: ash pirchei haadar
- Italy: tignola degli agrumi; tignola del cedro
- Netherlands: Pokrups, geele
- Turkey: turuncgil cicek guvesi
- PRAYCI (Prays citri)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Uniramia
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Lepidoptera
- Family: Yponomeutidae
- Genus: Prays
- Species: Prays citri
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page P. citri was first described by Millière in 1873. According to Vives (1992), P. nephelomima is not a synonym of this pest. P. nephelomima is endemic to Brunei, Australia and the Western Pacific (Robinson et al., 1994), and is considered to be a different species (Nielsen et al., 1996). Identifications of Prays citri on Citrus from east of Turkey and the Middle East are all likely to be errobeus; no voucher material has ever been seen and all 'citri' seen were misidentified. Species involved are probably: Prays endocarpa (Indian subcontinent; South-East Asia); Prays endolemma (Philippines); and Prays nepholemima (Bornea, Australasia) (GS Robinson, personal communication, NHM, London, UK, 2001).
DistributionTop of page P. citri is widespread in the Mediterranean region, where it was probably introduced with some citrus varieties (Balachowsky, 1966; Gomez, 1990; Carvalho and Aguiar, 1997). It is also is present in some African countries.
This moth had previously been reported in Australia by EPPO but was removed for EPPO (2002) because in an authoritative checklist on the genera (Nielsen and Edwards, 1996), P. nephelomina was reported to be endemic in Australia but P. citri was not included.
Identifications of P. citri on Citrus from east of Turkey and the Middle East (such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Philippines, Pakistan, Fiji and Samoa previously reported by EPPO) are likely to be erroneous; no voucher material has ever been seen and all 'citri' seen were misidentified. Species involved are probably: Prays endocarpa (Indian subcontinent; South-East Asia); Prays endolemma (Philippines); and Prays nepholemima (Borneo, Australasia) (GS Robinson, personal communication, NHM, London, UK, 2001).
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.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|British Indian Ocean Territory||Unconfirmed record|
|Israel||Present||Sterlicht et al., 1981; Gentry, 1965; EPPO, 2014|
|Jordan||Present||Sadah and Qasem, 1986|
|Sri Lanka||Present||EPPO, 2014|
|Syria||Present||Gentry, 1965; EPPO, 2014|
|Turkey||Present||Nizamlioglu, 1957; EPPO, 2014|
|Algeria||Present||Della Beffa, 1961; EPPO, 2014|
|Egypt||Present||CIE, 1982; EPPO, 2014|
|Libya||Present||CIE, 1982; EPPO, 2014|
|Mauritius||Present||Moutia, 1955; EPPO, 2014|
|Morocco||Present||Hanafi et al., 1986; EPPO, 2014|
|Réunion||Present||Vincenot and Quilici, 1995|
|Seychelles||Present||CIE, 1982; EPPO, 2014|
|South Africa||Present||CIE, 1982; Kamburov, 1986; EPPO, 2014|
|-Canary Islands||Present||Dominguez, 1943; Baez, 1998; EPPO, 2014|
|Tunisia||Present||Panis et al., 1995; EPPO, 2014|
|Zimbabwe||Present||CIE, 1982; EPPO, 2014|
|Cyprus||Restricted distribution||Cyprus Agricultural Research Institute, 1975; Gerini, 1977; EPPO, 2014|
|Denmark||Present||Buhl et al., 2001|
|France||Restricted distribution||Balachowski, 1966; Benassy et al., 1979; EPPO, 2014|
|-Corsica||Present||Balachowski, 1966; Benassy et al., 1979; EPPO, 2014|
|Greece||Present||Pelekassis, 1962; Buchelos et al., 1963; EPPO, 2014|
|Italy||Restricted distribution||Viggiani, 1979; Della Beffa, 1961; EPPO, 2014|
|Malta||Present||Saliba, 1963; EPPO, 2014|
|Portugal||Widespread||Carmona and Dias, 1966; Carvalho and Aguiar, 1997; EPPO, 2014|
|-Azores||Present||Carvalho and Aguiar, 1997; EPPO, 2014|
|-Madeira||Present||Carvalho and Aguiar, 1997; EPPO, 2014|
|Spain||Widespread||Dominguez, 1943; Gomez, 1990; Garrido and Ventura, 1993; EPPO, 2014|
|-Balearic Islands||Present||Gomez, 1990|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page P. citri is not considered to be a quarantine pest by EPPO.
Habitat ListTop of page
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page Citrus is the main host plant of the caterpillar. Damage of economic importance has been reported on Citrus limon (lemon) and Citrus aurantiifolia (lime) trees, and occasionally on king orange, orange tree, mandarin orange and cedro (Balachowsky, 1966; Ibrahim and Shahateh, 1984; Garrido and Ventura, 1993; Sinacori and Mineo, 1997).
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Casimiroa edulis (white sapote)||Rutaceae||Other|
|Citrus aurantiifolia (lime)||Rutaceae||Main|
|Citrus aurantium (sour orange)||Rutaceae||Other|
|Citrus limon (lemon)||Rutaceae||Other|
|Citrus reticulata (mandarin)||Rutaceae||Other|
|Citrus sinensis (navel orange)||Rutaceae||Other|
|Citrus x paradisi (grapefruit)||Rutaceae||Other|
|Ligustrum lucidum (broad-leaf privet)||Oleaceae||Other|
|Manilkara zapota (sapodilla)||Sapotaceae||Other|
Growth StagesTop of page Pre-emergence, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Fruit / external feeding|
|Fruit / internal feeding|
|Inflorescence / external feeding|
|Inflorescence / internal feeding|
|Leaves / external feeding|
Biology and EcologyTop of page In the Mediterranean region, all stages of the insect may be found throughout the year. The number of generations varies from 3-16, depending on climatic conditions. For example in Sicily, Italy there are 11 generations, and in Israel between 8 and 10 generations.
Population levels are low in winter and spring and high in summer and autumn. The threshold for development is approximately 10°C, and the first attacks occur in the spring when the temperatures exceed 10°C. Attacks are significant when the trees are in bloom.
Generally, the eggs are laid individually on the flowers, and sometimes on young fruit. On hatching the larvae bore flowers and small fruits. Cocoons may be found on fruits, flowers and leaves.
At 25°C the complete life cycle takes place in 20 days (egg = 4 days for development, larvae = 12 days, and pupa = 6 days). Temperature also influences the lifespan duration of the moth. Experiments show that the female lifespan is over 37.2 days at 10°C, while at 26°C it is less than 5 days. Adults have twilight and nocturnal habits. Females begin to oviposit 2-5 hours after mating. Each female can lay from 60-156 eggs (at 26°C the average is 110.7 eggs). Further information can be found in Balachowsky (1966), Garrido and Ventura (1993), Carvalho and Aguiar (1997) and Mendonca et al. (1997).
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Ageniaspis fuscicollis||Parasite||Pupae||Indian Islands; Reunion||Citrus|
|Bacillus thuringiensis thuringiensis||Pathogen||Larvae|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page Detailed studies of the natural enemies of P. citri have been made in the Mediterranean region. Mineo (1967) listed some parasitic hymenoptera in Sicily, which may also attack P. oleae. Moreno et al. (1990) and Garrido and Ventura (1993) reviewed the biocontrol agents. In Spain, the most important are parasitic hymenoptera, especially Bracon laetus (Braconidae) and Ageniaspis fuscicollis (Encyrtidae). Some predators feed on the eggs, for example: Orius niger, Aeolothrips tenuicornis and Metaseiulus occidentalis. Chrysoperla carnea feeds on the larvae. Panis et al. (1995) lists the parasites found in Tunisia, and Uygun et al. (1995) lists those which occur in Turkey.
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx||eggs; larvae; pupae||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Fruits (inc. pods)||pupae||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Growing medium accompanying plants|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches|
|True seeds (inc. grain)|
ImpactTop of page P. citri is an important pest found on citrus in the Mediterranean region. Its attack of Citrus limon (lemon) is of particular economic importance, because it may result in up to 90% loss in flower production in Spain, and 15-70% flower reduction in Portugal (Garrido et al., 1984; Mendonca et al., 1997). P. citri is also considered an economically important pest in Egypt on lime tree (Ibrahim and Shalateh, 1984).
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Water stress is considered to be a key factor in pest management in agroecosystems with Citrus limon (lemon) (Mineo, 1993). In Sicily, orchards submitted to water stress, resulted in total infestation in buds, flowers and set fruits below the economic threshold. However, in orchards with adequate water, the total registered infestation surpassed the economic threshold in the same period.
P. citri has many natural enemies, predators, parasites, and some polyphagous, which attack other species such us P. oleae (Mineo, 1967; OILB, 1971). The impact of biological control and use of natural enemies is considered negligible in some countries, because they are unable to control the moth effectivley (Garrido and Ventura, 1993; Uygun et al., 1995). However, Bacillus thuringiensis is a promising candidate for P. citri control with low toxicity to the natural enemies complex (Carvalho and Aguiar, 1997), and is recommended for control in integrated pest management programmes. Another pathogenic organism is the fungus Beauveria bassiana (Setata and Nasr, 1998).
Insecticides commonly used against the citrus flower moth in lemon tree include chlorpyriphos.
The synthetic sex pheromone (Z) - 7- tetradecenal showed a high degree of selectivity against P. citri, and affected only a few individuals of P. oleae in areas near olive groves. The relationship between male catches and the degree of infestation was largely influenced by locality, climatic and cultural factors, with no apparent correlation between catches and infestation. The use of pheromone traps appeared to be of little practical use for population monitoring (Mineo et al., 1980). Mass trapping and mating disruption have not proved to be promising methods for control of P. citri (Carvalho and Aguiar, 1997).
ReferencesTop of page
Avidov Z; Harpaz I, 1969. Plant pests of Israel. Revised, English edition. Jerusalem, Israel: Israel Universities Press.
Baez M, 1998. Mariposas de Canarias. Madrid, Spain: Ed. Rueda.
Benassy C; Viggiani G; Rosen D, 1980. Integrated control in citrus culture. In: Russ K, Berger H, ed. Proceedings. International symposium of IOBC/WPRS on integrated control in agriculture and forestry. Vienna, 8th-12th October 1979. International Organization for Biological Control of Noxious Animals and Plants, West Palearctic Regional Section. Vienna Austria, 281-287
Bodenheimer FS, 1951. Citrus Entomology in the Middle East. The Hague, Netherlands: Dr WJ Junk & S Gravenhage.
Buchelos TC; Soueref ST; Tsokas-Thanassoulopulos A, 1963. Observations on the biology of Prays citri (Milliere). Rep. Minist. Agric. Phytopath. Sta. Patras (1962).
Buhl O; Falck P; Jørgensen B; Karsholt O; Larsen K; Vilhelmsen F, 2001. Records of Microlepidoptera from Denmark in 2000 (Lepidoptera). (Fund af smasommerfugle fra Danmark i 2000 (Lepidoptera).) Entomologiske Meddelelser, 69(2):69-79.
Carmona MM; Dias JCS, 1966. Prays citri Mill., una especie nova para Portugal. Broteria, ser. Cienc. Nat., 35(1-2): 121-127.
Carter DJ, 1984. Pest Lepidoptera of Europe. Series Entomologica, Vol. 31. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Dr W Junk.
Carvalho JP de; Aguiar AMF, 1997. Pragas dos citrinos na ilha da Madeira. Madeira, Spain: Direccao Regional de Agricultura da Regiao Autonoma da Madeira. 411 pp.
Della Beffa G, 1961. Insects Harmful to Agriculture and Modern Methods and Means of Control. 3rd edition. Gli insetti dannosi allnagricoltura ed i moderni metodi e mezzi di lotta. Milan, Italy: V. Hoepli.
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
Ferro S, 1964. Observazioni biologiche sul Prays citri (in Campania) e sua lotta. Notiz. Mal. Piante, 70-71:383-415.
Garrido A; Busto T del; Tarancon J, 1984. Assessment of adults of Prays citri Mill (Lep. Hyponomeutidae) with a synthetic pheromone and the relation to damage. [Evaluacion de imagos de Prays citri Mill. (Lep. Hyponomeutidae) con una feromona de sfstesis y sus correspondientes da±os.] Anales del Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agrarias, Agricola, No. 25:147-154
Garrido A; Ventura JJ, 1993. Plagas de los cftricos. Bases para el manejo integrado. Madrid, Spain: M.A.P.A.
Gentry JW, 1965. Crop Insects of northeast Africa-southwest Asia. Agriculture Handbook No. 273. USA: Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture.
Gomez de Aizpurua C, 1990. Biologfa y morfologfa de las orugas. Tomo VIII. Madrid, Spain: M.A.P.A.
Hanafi A; Laraichi M; Abbassi M, 1986. First results of the wrestling by sexual disorder against Prays citri Mill. (Lep. Hyponomeutidae) in natural conditions. Bulletin de lnEcole Nationale dnAgriculture de Meknes 2: 105-109.
Liotta G; Mineo G; Ragusa S, 1976. On the current state of knowledge concerning certain arthropods injurious to citrus in Sicily. [Sur lnetat actuel des connaissances concernant certains arthropods nuisibles aux agrumes en Sicile.] Bollettino dell'Istituto di Entomologia Agraria e dell'Osservatorio di Fitopatologia di Palermo, 10:29-67
Magalhps GS, 1980. Note on the introduction of Aleurothrixus floccosus (Mask.) (Homoptera, Aleurodidae) in south Portugal and its control by Cales noacki How. (Hymenoptera, Aphelinidae). In: ProceedingsInternational symposium of IOBC/WPRS on integrated control in agriculture, forestryVienna, ed. Workshop sessions. International Organization for Biological Control of Noxious Animals and Plants, West Palearctic Regional Section. Vienna Austria, 572-573
Mendonca TR; Martins FM; Lavadinho AMP, 1997. Curvas de voo da traca do limoeiro, Prays citri (Milliere) (Lep. Yponomeutidae) num pomar de limoeiros en mafra e evolucao do grao de ataque. Bol. San. Veg. Plagas, 23(3): 479-483.
Mineo G, 1967. New entomophagous parasites of P. citri (Citrus moth) found in Sicily. Bulletino dellnInstituto di Entomologia Agraria e dellnObservatorio di Fitopatologia di Palermo, 6: 1-5.
Mineo G; Mirabello E; Busto T del; Viggiani G, 1980. Catches of adults of Prays citri Mill. (Lep. Plutellidae) with pheromone traps and progress of infestations in lemon groves in eastern Sicily. Bollettino del Laboratorio di Entomologia Agraria 'Filippo Silvestri', Portici, 37:177-197
Mineo G; Pralavorio R; Maniglia G; Voegele J; Arambourg Y, 1974. Tests on the biological control of Prays citri Mill. (Lep.-Hyponomeutidae) with Ageniaspis fuscicollis Dalm. (var. praysincola) Silv. (Hym.-Encyrtidae) and Trichogramma evanescens Westw. (Hym.-Trichogrammatidae) on lemon in Sicily. Bollettino dell'Istituto di Entomologia Agraria e dell'Osservatorio di Fitopatologia di Palermo, 9:143-160
Moreno J; Falco J V; Jimenez R, 1990. Estudio del complejo parasitario de Prys citri Mill. (Lep., Hyponomeutidae) en el sur de la provincia de Alicante. Bol. San. Veg. Plagas, 16: 515-522.
Moutia LA, 1955. The commoner insect pests of orchards, food crops, vegetables, flower gardens and household in Mauritius. Bull. Dep. Agric. Mauritius 91: 79 pp.
Nielsen ES; Edwards ED; Rangsi TV, 1996. Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia. Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia., xiv + 529 pp.; [Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Volume 4]; 34 pp. of ref.
Nizamlioglu K, 1957. Pests of fruit trees in Turkey and their control. Kuruma Tarim Ilaclar A.S. Nesr. 5.
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Panis A; Chermiti B; Mussche G, 1995. Citrus lepidopterans and their parasitoids in Tunisia. Working Group Integrated control in citrus fruit crops. OILB/SROP, 18(5): 15-21.
Pelekassis CED, 1962. A catalogue of the more important insects and other animals harmful to the agricultural crops of Greece during the last thirty-year period. Annales de l'Institut Phytopathologique Benaki, 5:5-104.
Robinson GS; Tuck KR; Shaffer M, 1994. A field guide to the smaller moths of south-east Asia. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Malaysian Nature Society.
Saliba LJ, 1963. Insect pests of crop plants in the Maltese islands. Malta: Malta Department of Information, 13.
Setata WA; Nasr FN, 1998. Laboratory evaluation and field application of bacterial and fungal insecticides on the citrus flower moth, Prays citri Mill. (Lep., Hyponomeutidae) in lime orchards in Egypt. Anzeiger fur Schadlingskunde, 71: 57-60.
Sinacori A; Mineo N, 1997. Two new host plants of Prays citri and Contarinia sp. citri (Casimiroa edulis - Ligustrum lucidum - Sicily). Informatore Fitopatologico, 47(7-8): 13-15.
Sodah M; Qasem A, 1986. Use of sex pheromones traps for population monitoring of citrus moth, Prays citri Mill. in Southern Shunah, Jordan Valley and Burma, Jarash District during 1985-1986. Amman, Jordan. 12 pp.
Sternlicht M; Goldenberg S; Nesbitt BF; Hall DR, 1981. Further field trials of pheromone dispensers and traps for males of Prays citri (Milliere) (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae). Bulletin of Entomological Research, 71(2):267-274
Traboulsi R, 1969. Contribution to the study of Aphytis spp. in the Lebanon. Annls. Soc. ent. Fr. 5(1): 5-72.
Uygun N; Karaca I; Ulusoy MR; Tekeli NZ, 1995. Status of citrus pest and their control in Turkey. Working Group Integrated control in citrus fruit crops. OILB/SROP, 18(5): 171-183.
Viggiani G, 1980. Progress toward the integrated control of citrus pests in Italy. In: Russ K, Berger H, ed. Proceedings. International symposium of IOBC/WPRS on integrated control in agriculture and forestry. Vienna, 8th-12th October 1979. International Organization for Biological Control of Noxious Animals and Plants, West Palearctic Regional Section. Vienna Austria, 293-296
Vincenot D; Quilici S, 1995. Integrated control in citrus orchards in the Reunion Island: experimentation and development. Working Group Integrated control in citrus fruit crops. OILB/SROP, 18(5): 140-157.
Vives A, 1992. Catalogo sistematico y sinonimico de los lepidopteros de la penfnsula Iberica y Baleares (Insecta: Lepidoptera). Madrid, Spain: M.A.P.A.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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