August 2003. The Banana skipper, Erionota thrax was said to have spread from Papua New Guinea to Choiseul, Solomon Islands, and assistance was requested in biological control f this pest. It was later found that this was a missdiagnosis, and it does not occur there, yet.
Members said that it was interesting to hear that the banana skipper has reached Solomon Islands. It is a great 'mover' over sea boundaries and probably moves by coming to lights on boats.There is a considerable literature on this moth in Papua New Guinea and its control.
A question was asked how the sexes are differentiated. In reply, it was said tha tthe best way to do this was to note the difference of adult's abdominal tips and then dissect a number of adult moths first in order to find out which are males or females from the internal reproductive organs (the presence of testes or ovaries) and then again look at the external morphological difference of the abdominal tips to differentiate them. The wing
color patterns may also indicate the sex difference.
Taxonomic information can be obtained from: Integrated taxonomic Information System (ITIS):
Pests and Diseases Image Laboratory (PaDIL):
Banana skipper females are known to deposit 60 eggs and probably more depending on the quality of food plant of each individual larva. A female adult can mature them in batches of up to 16 eggs with 3-12 commonly laid in each egg batch. The sex rations are equal in Papua New Guinea. In PNG, this is an exotic species almost certainly introduced from Indonesia.
For the parasitoids present and recorded from Malaysia go to: Waterhouse, DW & Norris, K (1989) Biological control. Pacific prospects. Supplement 1. ACIAR, Canberra. p. 88-99.
The parasitoid, Cotesia erionotae, provides effective control. Its host range is limited to E thrax and it would require only minimal assessment for non-target impacts - likely to be none. This braconid should be available from either mainland PNG or from New Britain.