Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/22/2002
Publication Date: 10/15/2005
Citation: White, W.H., Adamski, D., Brown, J.W., Reagan, T.E., Jimenez, J.A., Lopez, M.M., Way, M.O. 2005. First records of the sugarcane pest, Blastobasis graminea Adamski (Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae: Blastobasinae), from Mexico and Central America. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 104:812-813. Interpretive Summary: Introductions of new insect pests are a major concern for domestic agribusinesses, and the mainland U.S. cane sugar industries recently have experienced several significant insect invasions. We recently reported the presence of a South American sugarcane pest in Costa Rica and Mexico, suggesting a northward expansion in its range. These findings prompted concerns that this moth may eventually invade southeastern U.S. We conducted surveys for the pest in sugarcane-growing areas of Texas and Louisiana in 2002. Although it was detected neither during blacklight sampling nor in association with any cultivated host species (i.e., sugarcane, maize, or grain sorghum), we did find it on smooth cordgrass, a species used in wetland habitat restoration projects in Louisiana. These findings suggest that rather than expanding its geographic range northward, this sugarcane pest may be a widespread tropical species that is broadening its host range from native grasses to sugarcane. This information will be useful to growers and pest managers in the sugarcane industry and ecologists involved in restoration projects in the southeastern U.S.
Technical Abstract: Recent discoveries of Blastobasis graminea Adamski (Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae) in Mexico have prompted concerns that this insect pest of sugarcane may be moving northward from South America. A survey in Texas and Louisiana was conducted in 2002 to determine if B. graminea has expanded its range into the United States. Surveys included five nights of blacklight trapping in Texas and three nights of blacklight trapping plus diurnal surveys of 23 fields in Louisiana. Field surveys in Louisiana included not only the examination of sugarcane (interspecific hybrids of Saccharum sp.), but also maize, Zea mays L., and grain sorghum, Sorghum bicolor L., as well as non-cultivated graminaceous species in the vicinity of fields. B. graminea was not detected during blacklight sampling nor was it detected in association with any cultivated host species (i.e., sugarcane, maize, or grain sorghum). However, we did discover it on smooth cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora, in Louisiana. Finding B. graminea only on cordgrass suggests that rather than expanding its geographic range northward, it may be a widespread tropical species that is broadening its host range from native grasses to sugarcane. We also reared Pyroderces badia Hodges (Lepidoptera: Cosmopterigidae) and Dicymolomia julianalis (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) from seedheads of grain sorghum, which represents new host records for both species in the U.S.