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Prays citri Millière
Prays nephelomina Meyrick

Insecta, Lepidoptera, Hyponomeutidae .

Citrus flower moth, Citrus young fruit borer

Description, Biology, Life Cycle, Damage, Common Names, Images

- Adult: wingspan 10 to 12 mm, dull grey colour. Antennae fairly short. Wings heavily fringed. The fore wings are a grainy grey-brown, darker on the lower edge and at the apex; the hind wings are very narrow, uniform grey-brown and smoky at the tips (*) .
- Egg: oval, slightly convex, 0.15 x 0.20 mm, opalescent with a finely reticulated chorion.
- Larva: very pale and very small on hatching; 6.5 mm long and 1.8 mm wide when fully grown. Body pale, brownish or whitish with darker head and thoracic plate.
- Pupa: in a very loose cocoon, white and frayed.

- Host plants: all Citrus with a preference for lemon (Citrus limonum), Citrus decumana and to a lesser extent, orange (Citrus aurantium).
- Moth: after emerging, it feeds on sugary substances. It flies at dusk and during the day, resting in host trees. Mating occurs shortly after emergence. A few hours later, the female lays 1 to 3 eggs on a flower bud then moves to another. Total observed fertility: 60 to 150 eggs.
-The young caterpillar enters the flower bud and devours the folded flower parts (*) , then exits by a round lateral hole and enters another bud which it precedes to empty in the same fashion. It spins silken threads which cover the attacked inflorescences. After the first stage of fruit formation, it attacks the young fruit, penetrating it laterally via the receptacle.
Depending on the season, it also attacks tender young shoots and leaves which it joins together to form a web. It also penetrates developed fruits by boring a gallery in the skin.

[R]Life Cycle
- 11 generations per annum in Sicily and in the whole Mediterranean area; 1 winter, 3 spring, 4 summer, 3 autumn.
- Complete development of the insect is achieved in less than 30 days in summer months and in 60 days in winter. Also, on account of the large number of generations each year, P. citri is found in all stages of development every month of the year.

- The flower buds attacked by larvae (*) dry up and die. The attacked young fruits, devoured from the inside and soiled by frass, are aborted. More mature fruit is deformed and remains small.

[R]Common Names
DE: Zitrusmotte ES: Polilla de los agrios FR: Teigne du citronnier IT: Tignola dei fiori degli agrumi. PT: Traça dos citrinos GB: Citrus flower moth, Citrus young fruit borer

[R] Images

  1. Prays citri Millière Moth (Bernard J.-F. / INRA Maroc)
  2. Prays citri Millière Orange flower bud hollowed out by larva (Bernard J.-F. / INRA Maroc)
  3. Prays citri Millière Nibbled or mined pistils and ovaries (Bernard J.-F. / INRA Maroc)

To read this page in French

HYPPZ on line : Species (scientific name), Pests (common names), Glossary, Crops.

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