Caterpillar outbreaks: defoliation by theroyal poinciana caterpillar (Melipotis acontioides ) and the snowbush caterpillar (Melanchroia chephise ) in Naples, Florida

Douglas L. Caldwell

Abstract


Recent outbreaks of the royal poinciana caterpillar [Melipotis acontioides (Guenée)] and the snowbush caterpillar [Melanchroia chephise (Cramer)] provided opportunities to gather more information on these two Lepidoptera. The royal poinciana caterpillar (host is Delonix regia), in particular, appears to have long periods-10 years or more-between outbreaks. The Naples area experienced localized defoliation of very large trees in 2006. The snowbush caterpillar (host is Breynia disticha) occurred in outbreak numbers in 2005. Information and photos are provided on various aspects of their biology and host damage and responses.

Keywords


landscape pests; Lepidoptera; Geometridae; Noctuidae; Delonix regia; Breynia disticha

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283