December 2007. A mango borer seems to be a new pest on Rarotonga, Cook Islands. It is said to have started about 2 years’ ago. Fruits hanging on the trees touching each other are mainly affected. Perhaps this is due to the female moths ovipositing between the two touching mangos. The droppings of the caterpillars can sometimes be found on the outside of infested fruit. Some mango varieties seem to be more susceptible than others. An identification was requested.
It was considered to be Lepidoptera: Pyralidae, Phycitinae. An expert from Hongkong wrote: This is a very diverse subfamily, with many similar species and still poorly documented. A match could not be found in general guides – Robinson, Tuck & Shaffer (1994) A Field Guide to the Smaller Moths of South-East Asia or Roesler (1983) Heterocera sumatrana. Band 3 Die Phycitinae von Sumatra (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)), but it could be worth trawling through the phycitines on the Moths of Japan website (http://www.jpmoth.org/Pyralidae/Phycitinae/index.html). It is not in the Australian Moths Online website.
Phycitinae species listed from mango on the BMNH LepIndex database are as follows:
Assara albicostalis, Cathyalia fulvella, Citripestis eutraphera, Cryptoblabes gnidiella, Cryptoblabes plagioleuca, Ectomyelois ceratoniae, Hyalospila leuconeurella, Nephopterix sp. and Volobilis chloropterella.
Images were not found online for Citripestis eutraphera, but this is a possible candidate, based on the brief description at http://www.planthealthaustralia.com.au/project_documents/uploads/S%207%20Appendix%20two%20Pest%20Risk%20Reviews.pdf
Another member thought it was Noorda albizonalis (Hampson), but members disagreed as the larva illustrated for sublimalis (it has been renamed Deanolis sublimalis) is clearly banded, whereas that of the Cook Islands’ specimen is uniformly dull red. The thoracic plates also differ in shape, pattern and colouration.
it wassuggested that it is the Polynesian Chestnut Borer which is also present in chestnuts and in Samoa. There is a pinned labled speciment in the Insect collection at Totokoitu Research Station. There are also samples in the
collection in New Zealand collected during the time of the former DSIR.