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Sesamia nonagrioides (Lefebvre)
Sesamia vueteria (auct.)

Insecta, Lepidoptera, Noctuidae .

West African pink borer

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

- Adult: 30 to 40 mm wingspan: fore wings grey-yellowish, marked with a marginal band and with rounded, indistinct points. Hind wings are entirely white. Male antennae are strongly bipinnate (*) .
- Egg: grooved, whitish at laying, creamy-pink thereafter.
- Larva: when fully developed, the caterpillar is 30 to 40 mm long; of variable colour ranging from yellowish to brownish with a rust-coloured back. Important morphological characteristic: 4 setae per segment, set in a line on the 9th tergite.
- Pupa: about 2 cm long, semi-cylindrical, chestnut brown, with a cremaster including 4 strong teeth, 2 ventral and two smaller ones dorsally (*) .

- This moth attacks maize,wheat, rice, barley, oats, millet (Panicum), sugar cane (Saccarum officinalis), and less frequently asparagus, cotton and Solanaceae.
- Adults: active in the spring. Eggs are laid under the sheath of leaves in small clusters of about ten. They hatch after 10 to 14 days.
- Average fertility: 800 eggs.
- Larva: the neonate caterpillar lives for a few days on the leaf sheath. Then, often after its first moult, it moves to the stem where it lives as an endophyte (*) . After about 2 months and 7 to 8 instars, it pupates (towards the end of June or in July). The resulting moths lay their eggs on flowers and cereal ears.
- These hatch a week later; the caterpillars then attack influorescences. Larval development lasts about 45 days. Some individuals may complete their development at the end of summer and then undertake a brief autumnal flight. Most larvae overwinter in the stems of Graminaceae.
- Pupa: pupation takes place in a loose cocoon woven inside or outside galleries.

[R]Life Cycle
- 3 to 4 generations per year.
- In Sardinia and Sicily, adults appear at the end of March or beginning of April, while in more northern countries, hatching begins in April-May and continues until June. In Mediterranean regions, 4 generations occur regularly, and adult flights begin in March; other, sometimes more significant flights occur in April, June, August and October.

Early infested maize plants wilt and die.
On more developed plants, foraging of the culm and the axes of male panicules is the cause of partial drying, breakage under the effect of the wind and a reduced yield.
More serious is the direct damage caused to ears which are attacked either from the exterior or from the interior at different instars of their development; the result is their partial destruction and a reduction in the number of grains (*) .

[R]Common Names
DE: Maiseule ES: Barrenador del Maíz, Taladro del Maíz FR: Barrenador del Maíz, Taladro del Maíz IT: Sesamia del mais PT: Broca do milho GB: West African pink borer

[R] Images

  1. Sesamia nonagrioides (Lefčbvre) (Coutin R. / OPIE)
    Adult at rest on maize
  2. Sesamia nonagrioides (Lefčbvre) (Coutin R. / OPIE)
    Attack on ear of maize The caterpillar preferably attacks the axis of the ear, which causes seeds to rot and dry.
  3. Sesamia nonagrioides (Lefčbvre) (Coutin R. / OPIE)
    Caterpillar on ear of maize The axis of the ear was sectioned to show the larva.
  4. Sesamia nonagrioides (Lefčbvre) (Coutin R. / OPIE)
    pupa In a stem of maize.

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