Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Taro hornworm (032)

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  • Widespread distribution. In tropical and temperate Asia, Oceania. An important pest.
  • Eggs are laid on the leaves and petioles. Mature caterpillars eat between veins, sometimes all the leaf.
  • Look for the horn and the large eye spots.
  • Outbreaks uncommon because of natural enemies, and other control measure not needed.
  • Natural enemies: parasitoid wasps.
  • Cultural control: visit garden regularly; handpick caterpillars; allow chickens into the taro fields.
  • Chemical control: not usually required. If needed, use PDPs: neem, pyrethrum, or chilli; use products from bacteria, e.g., spinosad or Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) on young caterpillars. Alternatively, use synthetic pyrethroids, but likely to kill natural enemies.
Common Name

Taro hornworm

Scientific Name

Hippotion celerio. It is a member of the Sphingidae.

AUTHORS Helen Tsatsia & Grahame Jackson
Information from Diongzon, Jr, Gapasin DP (1981) Biology of taro hornworm, Hippotion celerio L. Annals of Tropical Research. (; and from Carmichael A, et al. (2008) TaroPest: an illustrated guide to pests and diseases of taro in the South Pacific. ACIAR Monograph No. 132, 76 pp. ( Photo 3 Mike Furlong, University of Queensland, Brisbane. Photo 5 Wikipedia. ( Photo 5 Mani Mua, SPC, Sigatoka Research Station, Fiji.

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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