Biology: 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
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
Pic. 70: Damage of