A network that helps people worldwide obtain rapid advice and information on crop protection, including the identification and management of plant pests.
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.
February 2003. Palau sent photos of a moth, caught as it flew into a house at night. It was identified as the Death’s hawk moth, Acherontia atropos (Sphingidae). This insect spreads through Africa, Europe and Asia. the larvae feed on a wide range of hosts, particularly Solonaceae.
It is similar to Acherontia lachesis Fabricius occurring in Thailand. The larvae feed on Solanaceae: Solanum aculeatissimum and Solanum torvu. That being the case, a member asked whether the moth had the potential as a biocontrol agent. However, it was unlikely to be specific to that weed alone. Solanum torvum is native to the West Indies and Central America (and is probably well out of the geographical range of Acherontia) and so may not be suitable. There are a number of other natural enemies of S torvum (excluding Acherontia spp.) and these are listed by D.F. Waterhouse (1987), but most are pests of important solanaceous plants.
Later, caterpillars of this moth were found to be feeding on Mussaenda frondosa, in Palau, a member of the Rubiaceae.