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CAROB MOTH

 

Ectomyelois ceratoniae (Zeller) -- Phycitidae

 

(Contacts)

 

 

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††††††††† Although carob moth, Ectomyelois ceratoniae, has been a serious pest of almonds, dates and other crops in Mediterranean countries for many decades, the origin of this insect is probably in west-central Africa.The Cameroon area is a most likely place.In North America, carob moth has invaded and become a pest on tamarind in Florida and dates in California.

 

††††††††† The external morphology of this insect may be viewed at Adult Moth and Larva.The carob mothPupa on the right is compared to that of the navel orangeworm (Amyelois transitella (Walker)).

 

††††††††††† There has been a successful establishment of Goniozus legneri Gordh on carob moth, Ectomyelois ceratoniae (Zeller) attacking almonds in Israel.Dr. Shmuel Gothilf who obtained the parasitoids from Dr. E. F. Legner in California performed the research.A detailed scientific account was submitted for publication but was never published with the unexpected demise of Dr. Gothilf.In his manuscript, Dr. Gothilf recorded the establishment and spread over all of Israel of G. legneri, and it was expected that population densities of the carob moth along with the peach twig borer would be gradually reduced, perhaps to non-economic levels. . It would be interesting to survey neighboring countries, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt, for the existence of G. legneri.

 

††††††††††† In South California, carob moth infests the seedpods of an array of ornamental trees and commercial dates south of 35 deg. N. Lat.Goniozus legneri was released by the thousands in carob moth infested date groves in the Coachella Valley in 1986 and 1987.These groves received no insecticide treatment during the release period.However, as the infestations became very severe, many of the release sites began to sustain dusting treatments with Malathion, which precluded post release surveys. Attention was then focused on alternate carob moth host plants, such as almonds, pecans and pomegranates.Establishment of G. legneri was thereby established for the area on these alternate host plants.Gradually some of the groves were sold to commercial golf and housing developments.By 2005, one organic grower with 20 acres of dates (Herrera grove) began to produce a high quality pest free crop of severa datel varieties without the use of insecticides.Thus, a natural balance between the carob moth, navel orangeworm and G. legneri probably accounts for this reduction of infestation on dates.Because the fruit of date palms is annually harvested from the commercial groves, the parasitoid has many alternate host plants on which to carry over into the next season.†† Studies are continuing to further evaluate this interaction.

 

††††††††† Goniozus legneri --The discovery of Goniozus legneri <PHOTO> in South America involved making initial contact with Dr. Josť Pastrana of the University of Buenos Aires.Arrangements were made for Dr. Legner to meet with Dr. Pastrana in Punta del Este, Uruguay in 1977.The navel orangeworm was not a common insect at higher latitudes in South America, and Dr. Pastrana only recalled having studied it in his collections from central Argentina. He advised Dr. Legner to travel to Concordia, Argentina to inquire there (also see efl210, efl258).

 

††††††††† In Concordia, Dr. Aquiles Silveira-Guido accompanied Dr. Legner, where both of them searched through collections in the experiment station there.A dusty room, filled to the ceiling with wooden insect collection boxes, was searched intensively.†† Several specimens of the navel orangeworm were found from collections made in 1938, and from the host coral tree, Erythrinia crista-galli.This knowledge enabled a further search in the wild on this host tree.

 

††††††††† Subsequently, collections were continued in Argentina and Uruguay with the aid of Dr. Silveira-Guido.Goniozus legneri turned out to be the most frequently collected parasitoid from navel orangeworm and the imported carob moth, Ectomyelois ceratoniae, with other parasitoid species of only ca. 5% occurrence being Temelucha sp, Coccygonimus sp. and Venturia canescens (Graven-Stein), Bracon sp. & Copidosoma sp.Cultures sent to Riverside, California were attempted, but only G. legneri succeeded.

 

†††††††† Collections were also made from Texas where it was found that Pentalitomastix (Copidosoma) plethorica parasitized navel orangeworm on Nonpareil almonds as far north as Brownwood (33 deg. N. lat.) and on Texas ebony and western soapberry seeds along the Gulf of Mexico coast and throughout south Texas.At the latitude of Corpus Christi, another parasitoid, a biparental strain of Goniozus emigratus was found attacking this host at low densities in all seasons on western soapberry and Texas ebony.Although identified as G. emigratus by Gordh & Hawkins (1981), its biparental behavior and fecundity differed significantly from the uniparental Hawaiian form to indicate its possible sibling status.†††††††

 

 

REFERENCES:†††††††† [ Additional references may be found at:†† MELVYL Library ]

 

Bellows, T. S. & T. W. Fisher (eds.).1999. Handbook of Biological Control:Principles and Applications.Academic Press, San Diego, New York.1046 p.

 

Caltagirone, L. E.1966.A new Pentalitomastix from Mexico.The Pan Pacific Entomol. 42:145-151.

 

Caltagirone, L. E., K. P. Shea and G. L. Finney.1964.Parasites to aid control of navel orangeworm.Calif. Agric. 19(1):10-12.

 

Gordh, G.1982.A new species of Goniozus imported into California for the biological control of navel orangeworm [Hymenoptera: Bethylidae;††† Lepidoptera: Pyralidae].Entomol. News 93:136-138.

 

Gordh, G. & B. Hawkins.1981.Goniozus emigratus (Rohwer), a primary external parasite of Paramyelois transitella (Walker), and comments††††† on bethylids attacking Lepidoptera [Hymenoptera: Bethylidae; Lepidoptera: Pyralidae].J. Kansas Entomol. Soc. 54:787-803.

 

Gothilf, S.1978.Establishment of the imported parasite Pentalitomastix plethoricus [Hym: Encyrtidae] on Ectomyelois ceratoniae [Lep:Phycitidae]in Israel.Entomophaga 23:299-302.

 

211.Legner, E. F.1983a.Influence of residual Nonpareil almond mummies on densities of the navel orangeworm and parasitization.J. Econ. Entomol.76:473-475.

 

209.Legner, E. F.1983b.Patterns of field diapause in the navel orangeworm (Lepidoptera: Phycitidae) and three imported parasites.Ann. Entomol. Soc. Amer. 76:503-506.

 

258.Legner, E. F. & G. Gordh.1992.Lower navel orangeworm (Lepidoptera: Phycitidae) population densities following establishment of Goniozuslegneri (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae) inCalifornia.J. Econ. Ent. 85(6):2153-60.

 

210.Legner, E. F. & A. Silveira-Guido.1983.Establishment of Goniozus emigratus and Goniozus legneri [Hym: Bethylidae] on navel orangeworm,Amyelois transitella [Lep: Phycitidae] in California and biological control potential.Entomophaga 28:97-106.

 

205.Legner, E. F., G. Gordh, A. Silveira-Guido & M. E. Badgley.1982.New larvicidal wasp to attempt control of navel orangeworm.AlmondFacts47(3):56-58.

 

203.Legner, E. F., G. Gordh, A. Silveira-Guido & M. E. Badgley.1982.New wasp may help control navel orangeworm.Calif. Agric. 38(5-6):†††††††† 1, 3-5.