Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Banana skipper (181)

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  • Narrow distribution. South and Southeast Asia, Oceania. On banana, and Musa species, bamboo, coconut and other palms.
  • Eggs on underside of the leaves; caterpillars pale green with shiny black heads; adults up to 8 cm, brown with three yellow dots on forewings.
  • Damage to 60% leaf area recorded, and if it occurs at fruiting, bunch yields likely to be lower.
  • Natural enemies: wasp parasitoid.
  • Cultural control: handpick.
  • Chemical control: PDPs - chillies, neem, pyrethrum, derris (plus soap); or, if grown for sale, spinosad, or Bt, on young caterpillars, to preserve the natural enemies.
Common Name

Banana skipper, banana leaf roller, hesperiid butterfly

Scientific Name

Erionota thrax; there are three subspecies: Erionota thrax thrax in Papua New Guinea, Erionota thrax mindana in the Philippines, and Erionota thrax basdrubal in the northern Moluccas - the Moluccas are islands between East Timor, Sulawesi and Irian Jaya. Another very similar species Erionota torus -mostly separated on male genitalia - is present in South and Southeast Asia. It is a member of the Hesperiidae.

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information from Plant Health Australia (undated) Banana skipper butterfly. Queensland Government. (; Erionata thrax (2021) Wikipedia. (; Australian Banana Growers' Council (2019) Under the microscope: Banana slipper butterfly. (; and Walker K (2005) Banana skipper (Erionota thrax): PaDIL -; and from CABI (2020) Erionota thrax (banana skipper). Crop Protection Compendium. ( Photo 1 Exotic pest alert: Banana skipper butterfly (NSW Department of Primary Industries (2014) Primefact, Plant Biosecurity, Orange. Photos 2,5&6 Pest and Disease Image Library, Photos 3&4 Richard Markham, ACIAR, Canberra.

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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