Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Rice leaf folder (414)

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  • Restricted. Asia, Africa (Madagascar), Oceania. In Australia, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands.
  • Serious pest of upland and lowland rice. Also on maize, millet, oats, sorghum, sugarcane, wheat, wild grasses and sedges.
  • Larvae eat inside rolled margins of leaves creating whitish stripes. Fields look ‘scorched’. More active in wet seasons.
  • Eggs on underside of leaves, singly or in groups. Larvae, green when mature, up to 16 mm, light brown head, covered in brown hairs. Pupates in silken cocoon on the leaves. Adults golden-yellow, variable, 2-3 dark lines joining across fore and hindwings, wingspan 16 mm. Strong flyer, migrating back and forth across parts of Asia. Nocturnal.
  • Natural enemies: many egg and larval parasitoids and predators.
  • Cultural control: fallow land or rotate crops; do not over-fertilise; remove weeds within and around crops; do not ratoon crops; flood fields after harvest or plough in straw and stubble; resistant varieties.
  • Chemical control: best not to use insecticides, especially during first 40 days (plants recover from early damage). If needed, use neem, abamectin, or spinosad. Avoid broad-spectrum products.
Common Name

Rice leaf folder

Scientific Name

Cnaphalocrocis medinalis. A moth of the Crambidae. Another species, Marasmia patnalis, looks similar, complicating identification.

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information from CABI (2019) Cnaphalocrocis medinalis (rice leaf folder). Crop Protection Compendium. (; and Leaf folder management in rice. Plantwise Fact sheets for farmers. CABI Plantwise Knowledge Bank. (; and (including Photo 1) from Catindig J (undated) Rice leaffolder, Cnaphalocrocis medinalis. Rice Knowledge Bank. IRRI.( Photo 2 Rice leaf roller moth (Cnaphalocrocis medinalis) on a building wall in Canungra, Queensland, Australia. ( Photo 3 McCormack, Gerald (2007) Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, Version 2007.2. Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust, Rarotonga. Online at

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project HORT/2016/185: Responding to emerging pest and disease threats to horticulture in the Pacific islands, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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