- 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.
Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides
Banana skipper (181)
Photo 2. Caterpillar of the banana skipper, Erionata thrax. Note the black head, narrow 'neck' and the body that is pale green.
Banana skipper, banana leaf roller, hesperiid butterfly
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. (https://www.farmbiosecurity.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Banana-skipper-butterfly-FS.pdf); Erionata thrax (2021) Wikipedia. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erionota_thrax); Australian Banana Growers' Council (2019) Under the microscope: Banana slipper butterfly. (https://abgc.org.au/2019/08/22/under-the-microscope-banana-skipper-butterfly/); and Walker K (2005) Banana skipper (Erionota thrax): PaDIL - http://www.padil.gov.au; and from CABI (2020) Erionota thrax (banana skipper). Crop Protection Compendium. (https://www.cabi.org/cpc/datasheet/21833). 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, Bugwood.org. 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.