?Spodoptera litura, banana Minimize

April 2004. Damage to banana by an unknown insect in Cook Islands. The question was, what could have made the holes. Similar damage was reported on Canna indica and Heliconia.

The damage may have been caused by late instars of Spodoptera litura. They produce very similar damage on banana leaves in northern Australia, although in the photo there is a section of leaf with just the upper epidermis eaten and that is atypical of late stage Spodoptera. It would be of interest to know the details of any faeces if present, since this could give a clue to whether it was Orthopteran, Coleopteran or Lepidopteran as very distinctive faecal pellets are produced from these groups.

Similar symtoms have been seed on banana plants (4-5months old) in a glass house in Malaysia. It was also thought to be caused by Spodoptera that hide between the petioles. The young instars feeds on the unfolded leaves (like the photo) and the cuticle of the leaf. There have also been cases where Spodoptera feed on the roots of banana plants.

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