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PestNet is a network that helps people worldwide obtain rapid advice and information on crop protection, including the identification and management of plant pests. It started in 1999. Anyone with an interest in plant protection is welcome to join. PestNet is free and is moderated, ensuring that messages are confined to plant protection.
Pests > Pest outbreaks > Insects > Erechthias psammaula, coconut, Cook Is
October 2000. In the South West of Rarotonga, Cook Islands, caterpillars were found feeding on coconut leaves causing serious damage to the palms. The damage caused by the caterpillars is quit distinctive as they attack the lower surface of the leaves only. The upper epidermis of the leaves stay intact. Old leaves are preferred and dry up quickly due to the heavy caterpillar attack. The caterpillars are yellowish white, up to 12 mm long and built webs.
The moth is 8 mm in length whitish yellow with a dark brown striped pattern on the wings.
According to Cook Islands records there is only one pest species belonging to the order Lepitoptera known from the Cook Islands attacking coconut leaves, Decardarchis psammaula (Lepidoptera, Tineidae). (Madison, P. 1979. Pests in the Cook Islands. A report based on the work of the UNDP/FAO-SPEC pest and disease survey in the South Pacific. 59 pp.)
It was confirmed as Erechthias [=Decadarchi] psammaula.