Damage based identification key for endophagous herbivores on Common Reed (Phragmites australis)

Author: Patrick Häfliger ©
CABI Europe - Switzerland, Rue des Grillons 1, CH-2800 Delémont
    The Reed Leopard
Phragmataecia castaneae (Hübner) (Lep.: Cossidae)

Larvae hatch in summer and feed first in shoot tips. After two moltings they leave the shoot tip, move down and enter a base internode. The reed leopard hibernates twice as larva in upper rhizome parts. Larvae pupate after two years in the shoots. For emergence, pupae move in the stem up to the emergence window, push it open, and the moth emerges from the pupal case, half of it protruding outside the stem (picture 63).

Description: Larvae up to 45mm long (picture 68), body yellowish-white with 2 purplish-brown lines on the back, head light-brown, neck shield toothed (picture 69); pupa up to 3.5cm long, each segment with toothed lip (picture); fore wings grey-brown, abdomen much longer than wings (picture 62)

Feeding pattern/damage: Feeding by young larvae kills shoot tips of nearly fully grown shoots in July/August (picture 70). The growing point is completely eaten through and few internodes below the growing point are packed with frass. The larval entrance hole (0.5 mm wide) is always at the upper end of a leaf sheath (where the leaf blade starts). The exit hole is about 1 mm large. Damage by feeding of older larvae in shoot bases is less distinct. A few leaves start to get yellow and wilt from the shoot base until entire shoots are yellow. Since larvae move to fresh shoots quite late after hibernation, shoots are only damaged when they are almost full grown. Neighboring shoots connected to an infested rhizome might also be weakened and wilt.

Distribution: Europe, Asia

References: Skinner, 1985; Pruscha, 1972; Tewksbury et al., 2002

Pic. 68: Larva of Phragmataecia castaneae
Pic. 69: Toothed neck shield of Phragmataecia castaneae

Pic. 62: Adult Phragmataecia castaneae
Pic. 63: Empty pupal case of
Phragmataecia castaneae

Pic. 70: Damage of
young Phragmataecia

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