A leaf tying moth by the name of Hypocosmia pyrochroma, a native of subtropical South America, was released in Australia in 2007 as another biocontrol agent to control the environmental invasive weed Cat’s Claw creeper. In late 2017 Landcare’s Bio Control Manager Yvonne and some volunteers travelled to Boompa, south of Biggenden, to monitor the activities of the leaf tying moth and their larvae.
The moth is nocturnal. The females lay up to 120 eggs during their short lifespan of 10 days. Two to three weeks later the eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the Cats Claw creeper, tying the leaves together with silk, creating silken tunnels and severely damage foliage. Hypocosmia pyrochroma are difficult to rear, however, Gympie Landcare has successfully reared two generations of moths with a total of 19 adults emerging. Pupae undergo diapauses throughout winter. This is period of suspended or arrested development during the insect’s life cycle. Hopefully, more moths emerge at the end of the year.
Future plans include close monitoring and the release of larvae onto a private property in the Gympie area.
For more information on our biocontrol facility click here