Tirathaba rufivena

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Coconut spike moth
Tirathaba rufivena (ento-csiro-au) cropped.png
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Pyralidae
Genus: Tirathaba
T. rufivena
Binomial name
Tirathaba rufivena
(Busck, 1916) [1]
  • Lamoria rufivenaWalker, 1864
  • Harpagoneura acrocaustaMeyrick, 1897
  • Mucialla fuscolimbalisSnellen, 1900
  • Harpagoneura distortaTurner, 1937
  • Melissoblaptes rufovenalisSnellen, 1880
  • Tirathaba ignivenaHampson, 1917

Tirathaba rufivena, the coconut spike moth, greater coconut spike moth or oil palm bunch moth, is a moth of the family Pyralidae. It is found from south-east Asia to the Pacific islands, including Malaysia, the Cook Islands, the Philippines and the tropical region of Queensland, Australia. [2] They are considered as a minor pest.


Female Tirathaba rufivena female.jpg
Male Tirathaba rufivena male.jpg


Its wingspan is about 26–30 millimetres (1–1 14 in). Adults have dull green or brown forewings with thin red stripes running from the margin to the base. More or less developed annuli at middle and end of the cell connected by a white streak, sometimes with a spot in base of cell also joined by the white streak. The inner margin, vein 1, the interno-median interspace and veins beyond lower angle of cell streaked with crimson. A dark marginal line. The hindwings are plain pale yellow or orange yellow. [3]

Ecology and attack

The larvae is an agricultural pest that feeds on Cocos nucifera , Nypa fruticans , Elaeis guineensis , Musa species, and Phaseolus species. Usually the caterpillar attacks male flowers where infestation causes abortion of young and results in underdeveloped fruits. A severe attack can wilt the plant and delay plant development. They are not borers, and only show external feeding. [4] [5]


Living specimen Tirathaba rufivena1.jpg
Living specimen

Biological control is the most effective method of controlling both larval and egg stages. Many different strains of parasites and pathogens are used. The pathogens such as Beauveria bassiana , and Metarhizium anisopliae are also used in many regions. An ichneumonid Venturia palmaris are experimented in Malaysia, where they attack larva in November and December. [4]

Agrophylax basifulva , a tachinid fly, is a known parasitoid used in Fiji which has not been successfully used elsewhere because of difficulties in rearing sufficient numbers. [6] Another unsuccessful potential biocontrol is the entomoparasitic nematode Steinernema feltiae . [7]

Other than that, hand picking and other traditional methods are used in many countries.

Related Research Articles

Biological pest control Controlling pests using other organisms

Biological control or biocontrol is a method of controlling pests such as insects, mites, weeds and plant diseases using other organisms. It relies on predation, parasitism, herbivory, or other natural mechanisms, but typically also involves an active human management role. It can be an important component of integrated pest management (IPM) programs.

<i>Lymantria dispar</i> Species of moth

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Tachinidae Family of insects

The Tachinidae are a large and variable family of true flies within the insect order Diptera, with more than 8,200 known species and many more to be discovered. Over 1300 species have been described in North America alone. Insects in this family commonly are called tachinid flies or simply tachinids. As far as is known, they all are protelean parasitoids, or occasionally parasites, of arthropods, usually other insects. The family is known from many habitats in all zoogeographical regions and is especially diverse in South America.

Entomopathogenic nematode

Entomopathogenic nematodes are a group of nematodes, causing death to insects. The term entomopathogenic has a Greek origin, with entomon, meaning insect, and pathogenic, which means causing disease. They are animals that occupy a bio control middle ground between microbial pathogens and predator/parasitoids, and are habitually grouped with pathogens, most likely because of their symbiotic relationship with bacteria. Although many other parasitic thread worms cause diseases in living organisms, entomopathogenic nematodes, are specific in only infecting insects. Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) live parasitically inside the infected insect host, and so they are termed as endoparasitic. They infect many different types of insects living in the soil like the larval forms of moths, butterflies, flies and beetles as well as adult forms of beetles, grasshoppers and crickets. EPNs have been found in all over the world and a range of ecologically diverse habitats. They are highly diverse, complex and specialized. The most commonly studied entomopathogenic nematodes are those that can be used in the biological control of harmful insects, the members of Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae. They are the only insect-parasitic nematodes possessing an optimal balance of biological control attributes..

<i>Mythimna separata</i> Species of moth

Mythimna separata, the northern armyworm, oriental armyworm or rice ear-cutting caterpillar, is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It is found in China, Japan, South-east Asia, India, eastern Australia, New Zealand, and some Pacific islands. It is one of the major pests of maize in Asia. The species was first described by Francis Walker in 1865.

<i>Ardices canescens</i> Species of moth

Ardices canescens, the dark-spotted tiger moth or light ermine moth, is a moth in the family Erebidae that is found across most of Australia. It originally was included in the genus Spilosoma, but later the generic status of Ardices was proven.

<i>Uraba lugens</i> Species of moth

Uraba lugens, the gum-leaf skeletoniser, is a moth of the family Nolidae. It is found in Australia and New Zealand. The larvae are a serious pest of Eucalyptus species and their close relatives. The wingspan is 25–30 mm. In Australia there are about one or two generations per year.

<i>Mythimna decisissima</i> Species of moth

Mythimna decisissima is a moth of the family Noctuidae first described by Francis Walker in 1856. It is found from India across south-east Asia including Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and Australia in Queensland and New South Wales. It is also present in South Africa.

<i>Nanaguna breviuscula</i> Species of moth

Nanaguna breviuscula, the pigeonpea pod borer, is a moth species of the family Nolidae. It is found from Sri Lanka and India east to Samoa. In Australia it is found in the Kimberleys in Western Australia, the northern part of the Northern Territory and from the Torres Strait Islands and Queensland to Sydney in New South Wales.

<i>Spodoptera mauritia</i> Species of moth

Spodoptera mauritia, the lawn armyworm or paddy swarming caterpillar, is a moth of the family Noctuidae. The species was first described by Jean Baptiste Boisduval in 1833. Able to eat many types of food, it is a major pest throughout the world.

<i>Penicillaria jocosatrix</i> Species of moth

Penicillaria jocosatrix, the mango shoot borer, is a moth of the family Noctuidae first described by Achille Guenée in 1852. It is found from southeast Asia to the Pacific. Records include Borneo, Guam, Hawaii, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and in Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

<i>Bactra venosana</i> Species of moth

Bactra venosana, the nutgrass borer or nutsedge borer, is a moth of the family Tortricidae. It was first described by Philipp Christoph Zeller in 1847. Julius von Kennel provides a full description. It has a wide distribution, from southern Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor to India, Sri Lanka, southern China, Malaya, Australia and into the Pacific where it is found on Java, Borneo, the Philippines, Taiwan, Timor, the Solomons, the Carolines and Fiji. It was introduced to Hawaii in 1925 to control nutsedge. It is now found on Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui, Lanai and Hawaii.

<i>Creatonotos gangis</i> Species of arctiine moth found in South East Asia and Australia

Creatonotos gangis is a species of arctiine moth found in South East Asia and Australia. It was described by Carl Linnaeus in his Centuria Insectorum.

<i>Scirpophaga incertulas</i> Species of moth

Scirpophaga incertulas, the yellow stem borer or rice yellow stem borer, is a species of moth of the family Crambidae. It was described by Francis Walker in 1863. It is found in Afghanistan, Nepal, north-eastern India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sumba, Sulawesi, the Philippines, Taiwan, China and Japan.


Scapteriscus is a genus of insects in the family Gryllotalpidae, the mole crickets. Members of the genus are called two-clawed mole crickets. They are native to South America. Some species have arrived in other regions, including parts of North America, where some have become invasive and have become established as pests.

<i>Athetis reclusa</i> Species of moth

Athetis reclusa is a moth of the family Noctuidae first described by Francis Walker in 1862. It is found from Sundaland to New Caledonia and Fiji. The habitat consists of open areas from sea level up to 1,200 meters.

Calamotropha delatalis, is a moth in the family Crambidae. It was described by Francis Walker in 1863. It is found in Sri Lanka and Australia, where it has been recorded from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

<i>Tirathaba parasiticus</i> Species of moth

Tirathaba parasiticus is a species of moth of the family Pyralidae. It was described by Thomas Pennington Lucas in 1898. It is found in Australia, where it has been recorded from Queensland and New South Wales.

Hoplocampa testudinea, the apple sawfly or European apple sawfly, is a species of sawfly in the family Tenthredinidae. It is native to Europe but has been accidentally introduced into North America where it became invasive. The larvae feed inside the developing fruits of the apple tree.

<i>Ectropis bhurmitra</i> Species of moth

Ectropis bhurmitra, the tea twig caterpillar, is a moth of the family Geometridae. The species was first described by Francis Walker in 1860. A widespread Asian species, it is found around Indo-Australian tropics from India, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, New Guinea to Australian Queensland and the Solomon Islands.


  1. "Tortricidae.com". Tortricidae.com. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  2. Herbison-Evans, Don & Crossley, Stella (22 March 2015). "Tirathaba rufivena (Walker, 1864) Greater Coconut Spike Moth". Australian Caterpillars and their Butterflies and Moths. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  3. Hampson, G. F. (1896). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Moths Volume IV. Taylor and Francis via Biodiversity Heritage Library.
  4. 1 2 "Coconut spike moth (Tirathaba rufivena)". Plantwise Knowledge Bank. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  5. Herbison-Evans, Don & Crossley, Stella (22 March 2015). "Tirathaba rufivena (Walker, 1864) Greater Coconut Spike Moth". Australian Caterpillars and their Butterflies and Moths. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  6. Godfray, H. C. J. (1985). "Mass rearing the tachinid fly argyrophylax basifulva, a parasitoid of the greater coconut spike moth [Tirathaba spp.] [Lep.: Pyralidae]". Entomophaga . 30 (3): 211–215. doi:10.1007/BF02372221. ISSN   0013-8959.
  7. Zelazny, B. (1985). "Susceptibility of two Coconut Pests, Oryctes rhinoceros [Col.: Scarabaeidae] and Tirathaba rufivena [Lep.: Pyralidae], to the entomoparasitic nematode Steinernema feltiae [= Neoaplectana carpocapsae]". Entomophaga . 30 (2): 121–124. doi:10.1007/BF02372244. ISSN   0013-8959.