Acrolepiopsis assectella Zeller

A significant insect pest of onion is new to the Western Hemisphere

IDENTITY
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Name: Acrolepiopsis assectella Zeller
Taxonomic Position:
Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Lepidoptera: Acrolepiidae
Common Names: leek moth; onion moth; Lauchmotte; Zwiebelmotte; teigne du poireau

Significance:
This is the first report of this pest of onion in the Western Hemisphere.

Issues of Concern: The leek moth has been reported to infest Allium spp. in Ottawa (Handfield, 1997). In onions, when conditions are unfavorable, larvae may reach bulbs and form galleries which result in subsequent loss during storage. This is a serious pest in continental Europe, where Italian leek infestation rates have been known to reach 40%. This pest may be able to adapt to native plants in the genus Allium, and its native distribution (see below) suggests it will be able to become established in North America.

Hosts: Allium spp. including onion, leek, garlic, shallot and chive.

Distribution:
Asia; Africa; Europe; Canada (New); See Comments

Detection Strategies
Larval mining and feeding within foliage and bulbs occurs, which is often followed by extensive rotting. Hidden damage leading to loss during storage is a serious problem.

Leek moth larvae and pupae are often hidden within Allium tops, near new growth at the crown. They can be shaken from the plant by beating the tops on an edge of a box or table, while holding the plants at the bases near the roots. Visual inspection for larval damage is most effective for plants with very small tops.

Caterpillars and pupae are typically light to bright green in color. The half inch long pupal cocoon has a distinctive pattern of woven fibers that resembles cargo netting, with the green pupa visible through the white cocoon fibers.

Comments:
Original reports of the leek moth being established in Hawaii are apparently false, resulting from misidentification of A. sapporensis as A. assectella (Gaedike, 1997).

OTHER INFORMATION:
Source: CFIA, Canada

References:
Handfield, L. (1997) Liste des Lepidopteres du Quebec et du Labrador. Association des Entomologistes Amateurs du Quebec. Fabreries Suplement 7, 1997.

Gaedike, R. (1997) Acrolepiidae. Fascicle 55 in Lepidopterorum Catalogus. Edited by J. Heppner. Association for Tropical Lepidoptera, Scientific Publishers, Gainesville, FL.

See the related documents section below for additional references.

Useful Links:
Data Sheet from HYPPZ
Data Sheet from Extension Entomology & UH-CTAHR IPM Program

Related Documents:
Data Sheet (PDF-Includes References)    Lepacraa700.pdf
Extended Reference List    Acrolepiopsis_assectella.htm


Phytosanitary Alert System
Pest Alert www.pestalert.org
Prepared on: 02/26/2001