Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #338307

Research Project: Systematics of Moths Significant to Biodiversity, Quarantine, and Control, with a Focus on Invasive Species

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: The Diatraea complex (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) in Colombia’s Cauca River Valley: identity, distribution, and parasitoids

item VARGAS, GERMAN - Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA)
item LATRA, L. - Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA)
item RAMIREZ, G. - Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA)
item Solis, M Alma

Submitted to: Neotropical Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/9/2017
Publication Date: 5/7/2018
Citation: Vargas, G., Latra, L., Ramirez, G.D., Solis, M.A. 2018. The Diatraea complex (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) in Colombia’s Cauca River Valley: identity, distribution, and parasitoids. Neotropical Entomology. 47:395-402.

Interpretive Summary: Species in the moth genus Diatraea have stem boring larvae that feed on and damage economically important grasses such as corn, sorghum and rice for food, and sugarcane for biofuel. This study investigated outbreaks of some of the species in the Cauca River Valley in Colombia. Potential economic impact and scenarios for biological control are discussed. Keys to the identification of the adults and pupae are provided; pupal characters were discovered for the first time to identify these species. This research will be useful to biological control workers and scientists who need to identify this economically important genus.

Technical Abstract: The sugarcane stem borers Diatraea saccharalis (Fabricius) and D. indigenella Dyar & Heinrich are common pests of sugarcane crops in Colombia’s Cauca river valley (CRV). In 2012, however, D. tabernella Dyar was recorded for the first time in northern CRV and just one year later D. busckella Dyar & Heinrich was detected, also for the first time, in central CRV. The Diatraea outbreak in the CRV was studied, its distribution and population in the region was analyzed, and levels of larval parasitism were observed. The potential economic impact and future scenarios for biological control of these pests are discussed. During the study of the outbreak, the Diatraea complex in the CRV was characterized based on the morphology of larval, pupal, and adult stages. Keys to the identification of Diatraea in the CRV based on male genitalia and pupa are provided. Pupal cephalic horns and lateral lobes were discovered as reliable characteristics to separate the species.