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Leaf Blotch Miner Moth


A Leaf Blotch Miner Moth (Gracillariidae, Lepidoptera), New to Hawai`i, on Indian Almond, Terminalia catappa L. (Combretaceae)

By William D. Perreira, Entomologist and Dana Anne Yee, FASLA

In September of 2016, while surveying for new pest insects at Mokuleia, O`ahu, we collected a specimen of a small leaf mining moth belonging to the genus Ketapangia (Gracillariidae) (Figure 1), a genus, a new invasive species not reported from Hawai`i. Two species of moths are placed in the genus Ketapangia which ranges from India through Southeast Asia, Taiwan, the Ogasawara Islands, the Philippines, and Micronesia (Kumata, 1995).

Additional surveys in October 2016, discovered Indian Almond trees at Barber’s Point Beach Park with leaf blotches on approximately 25% of leaves that were low to the ground (>2 meters). All leaf damage occurred in areas that were somewhat protected from the often-blustery conditions at the park, which leads us to believe that the winds may be significant to suppressing the adult moth stage.

Caterpillars of both species live in and on the leaves of Indian Almond. Eggs are laid near to the mid rib of a leaf and damage follows as the larva hatches and begins to tunnel through the leaf, enlarging the tunnel as it grows until it reaches the edge of the leaf (Figure 2) and pupates into an adult and then exits to repeat the cycle on newer leaf growth. Because the Caterpillars live in the leaves, spray application may not be an effective means for control.

We are continuing to collect specimens in order to send a series of specimens to an expert for an accurate species identification in our effort to protect our beautiful Hawai`i from invasive insect pest species.

Figure 1. Size comparison of an Adult of Ketapangia sp. found attacking Indian Almond Tree on O`ahu.



Funding for field work and laboratory work most generously provided by the Dana Anne Yee Foundation, O`ahu Nursery Growers Association, the Landscape Association of Hawai`i,

and the Atherton Family Foundation.

Literature Cited

Kumata, T. 1995. Ketapangia, A New Genus for Macarostola leucochorda and Acrocerops regulifera [Gracillariidae, Lepidoptera] Insecta matsumurana. Series entomology. New series, 52: 133-148.

William D. Perreira, Entomologist


Dana Anne Yee Foundation / www.


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