Vol 120 (2007): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society
Ornamental, Garden & Landscape

Caterpillar outbreaks: defoliation by theroyal poinciana caterpillar (Melipotis acontioides ) and the snowbush caterpillar (Melanchroia chephise ) in Naples, Florida

Douglas L. Caldwell
University of Florida
Published December 1, 2007
Keywords
  • landscape pests,
  • Lepidoptera,
  • Geometridae,
  • Noctuidae,
  • Delonix regia,
  • Breynia disticha
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Abstract

Recent outbreaks of the royal poinciana caterpillar [Melipotis acontioides (Guenée)] and the snowbush caterpillar [Melanchroia chephise (Cramer)] provided opportunities to gather more information on these two Lepidoptera. The royal poinciana caterpillar (host is Delonix regia), in particular, appears to have long periods-10 years or more-between outbreaks. The Naples area experienced localized defoliation of very large trees in 2006. The snowbush caterpillar (host is Breynia disticha) occurred in outbreak numbers in 2005. Information and photos are provided on various aspects of their biology and host damage and responses.