The Teak Defoliator in Kerala, India

  • K. S. S. Nair
Part of the Population Ecology book series (POPE)


Two species of insects are well-known pests of the teak tree (Tectona grandis) in India—Hyblaea puera Cramer (Lepidoptera: Hyblaeidae), popularly known as the teak defoliator, and Eutectona machaeralis (Walker) syn. Pyrausta machaeralis Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyraustidae), popularly known as the teak skeletonizer. Larvae of the former feed on the entire leaf, leaving only the major veins, while those of the latter feed only on the green matter, leaving all the veins intact, thus qualifying for the name, skeletonizer. Of the two, H. puera is the more serious because it feeds on young leaves during the early part of the growing season, compared with E. machaeralis, which feeds on old leaves not long before natural leaf fall. First described in 1794,14 H. puera, originally included in the family Noctuidae, has been recognized as a pest of teak in India for almost a century. This is not surprising, since the first teak plantation in India was raised as early as 1842, in Nilambur, Kerala State. Preliminary information on the life history of H. puera and the nature of its damage were published from 1898 to 1903.10,11,19.30 The species is fairly widely distributed in the tropics: in the Oriental and Australian regions (India, Burma, Sri Lanka, Java, Papua—New Guinea, Cape York Peninsula of northern Queensland in Australia, and the Solomon Islands); in Central America (West Indies); and in Africa (South Africa and parts of East Africa). 3.9,12,14 Teak is considered the principal host plant, although some other hosts have been recorded.


Natural Enemy Natural Forest Solomon Island Forest Insect Tender Leaf 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. S. S. Nair
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of EntomologyKerala Forest Research InstitutePeechiIndia

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