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This Caterpillar is Encouraged to Eat to its Heart’s Content


Dusty rose myrtle borer
Downy rose myrtle borer. (ARS Systematic Entomology Laboratory)

Scientific Name: Casmara subagronoma Lvovsky

Common Name: Downy rose myrtle borer

Friend or Pest (or both):  Friend.

Region and Diet?  This moth is native to Southeast Asia and its caterpillar feeds on the tissues inside stems of plants in the myrtle family.

Impact on agriculture? Downy rose myrtle is an evergreen shrub from Southeast Asia that is invasive in Hawai'i and Florida. The shrub spreads quickly and can take over spaces dedicated to productive crops and plants, thereby robbing them of valuable nutrients to grow. ARS scientists teamed up to study whether this hungry moth caterpillar, also from Southeast Asia, could be used to kill and control the pesky plant. Read the abstract to learn more.