Preliminary attempt at biological control of coconut leaf eating caterpillar, Opisina arenosella Walker using two Trichogramma species

  • S.K. Jalali
  • T. Venkatesan
  • K.S. Murthy
  • T.V. Bhaskaran
  • Y. Lalitha
Keywords: Biological Control, Coconut, Opisina Arenosella, Trichogramma Embryophagum, T. chilonis


A preliminary attempt was made for biological control of coconut leaf eating caterpillar, Opisina arenosella Walker, by releasing two Trichogramma species viz. T. chilonis Ishii and T. embryophagum Hartig @ 1,000 to 4,000 parasitised eggs per palm in Bangalore, India. The mean percent reduction in larval population by 75.6, 60.0, 33.3 and 50.0% in T. chilonis and 88.8%, 175.0, 66.7 and 75.0% in T. embryophagum was recorded in treated palms during 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation of the pest compared to untreated control. There was non- significant difference between various release rates irrespective of the species, indicating that lower release rate of 1,000 parasitised eggs/palm as adequate. On sentinel egg cards, parasitism was low 2.0 - 5.0%, 0.0 - 2.0% and 0.0% in T. chilonis, and T. embryophagum released palms and untreated control palms, respectively. The field trial gave an indication that Trichogramma could be a potential parasitoid against O. arenosella and it is suggested that the parasitoids could be released and tested on a large scale in endemic areas to authenticate efficacy.


Cock, M.J.W. and Perera, P.A.C.R. 1987. Biological control of Opisina arenosella Walker (Lepidoptera: Oecophoridae). BNI 8: 283-309.

Dharmaraju, E. 1952. The biological control of the black headed caterpillar of coconut (Nephantis serinopa M.) in the East Godavari district of Madras state. Indian Cocon. J. 5: 171-175.

Hassan, S.A. 1989. Selection of suitable Trichogramma species to control the codling moth Cydia pomonella and the summer fruit tortrix moths Adoxophyes orana and Pandermis heparana (Lep.: Tortricidae). Entomophaga 34: 19-27.

Jalali, S.K., Singh, S.P. and Venkatesan, T. 2002. Selection of promising species of trichogrammatid egg parasitoid for field evaluation against coconut leaf eating caterpillar, Opisina arenosella Walker. J. Plant. Crops 30: 30–32.

Kanagaratnam, P. 1975. Report of the Crops Protection Division. Ceylon Cocon. Quart. 26: 51-56.

Lever, R.J.A.W. 1969. Notes on outbreaks, the parasites and habits of the coconut moth Artona catoxantha Hamps. Malayan Agric. J. 36: 20-27.

Nadarajan, L. and ChannaBsavanna, G.P. 1980. Population dynamics of coconut black headed caterpillar, Nephantis serinopa Meyrick (Lepidoptera: Cryptophasidae) and its parasites. Mysore J. Agric. Sci. 14: 533-541.

Nagarkatti, S. 1973. Biological control campaign against Nephantis serinopa Meyr. in India in the light of modern concepts. J. Plant. Crops 1: 28-31.

Nirula, K.K. 1956. Investigations on the pests of coconut palm. Part III. Nephantis serinopa Meyrick. Indian Cocon. J. 9: 101-131.

Pradhan, S. 1983. Agricultural Entomology and Pest Control. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, 83 pp.

Ramachandran, C.P., Ponnamma, K.N., Abdulla Koya, K.M. and Kurian, C. 1979. The coconut leaf-eating caterpillar, Nephantis serinopa Meyrick, a review. Philippines J. Cocon. Stud. 4: 9-17.

Sathiamma, B., George, M.V. and Kurian, C. 1974. Seasonal variations in the larval population of Nephantis serinopa Meyrick in the field as correlated with meteorological factors. In: Proc. First Natl. Symp. Plantn. Crops, K.M. Nayar (Ed.). December 8 - 9, 1972, Trivandrum, India. J. Plant. Crops 1 (Suppl.): 161-163.
How to Cite
S.K. Jalali, T. Venkatesan, K.S. Murthy, T.V. Bhaskaran, & Y. Lalitha. (2005). Preliminary attempt at biological control of coconut leaf eating caterpillar, Opisina arenosella Walker using two Trichogramma species. CORD, 21(02), 34.