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Type: Article
Published: 2021-03-26
Page range: 1-8
Abstract views: 262
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Observations on Phassus n-signatus Weymer (Lepidoptera: Hepialidae) feeding on Ligustrum lucidum in a suburban habitat of Heredia, Costa Rica

Research Associate, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity, Gainesville
Caixa Postal 1206, 84.145−000 Carambeí, Paraná
Professor Emeritus. Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), Turrialba, Costa Rica.
callus feeding Central America ecology host plant larva phytophagy stem borer


Larval feeding by the Central American ghost moth Phassus n-signatus is recorded in the Asian tree Ligustrum lucidum for the first time. Larval feeding and feeding damage was observed on 15 plants in a suburban environment where L. lucidum is widely used as a residential hedge. Larvae feed under a web of silk and frass on callus wound tissue that grows back following removal of bark around the entrance to a short (less than 42 cm) tunnel where the larva resides when at rest. The diameter of host plant stems at the tunnel site ranged between 4–32 cm and most larval tunnels were found less than 1.5 m from the ground. The presence of P. n-signatus within a suburban residential area shows that this species can persist within human modified urbanized environments where there are sufficient host plants available, and ground conditions include decaying plant debris that would be necessary to support growth of early instars that are presumed to occupy this microhabitat as documented for other stem boring Hepialidae.


Key words: callus feeding, Central America, ecology, host plant, larva, phytophagy, stem borer


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