Letter | Published:

Nocturnal Habits of Platyedra gossypiella Saunders

Naturevolume 140pages6970 (1937) | Download Citation



IN the course of investigational work on Platyedra gossypiella, the pink bollworm of cotton, in the West Indies, observations were made on its nocturnal habits, concerning which but little is known. On the question of light attraction, for example, there has been a stalemate of opinions. Wilcocks1 in Egypt found that both sexes came to light readily ; while Busck2 in Hawaii states that the moth is not attracted to light “but is on the contrary shy of all light, natural and artificial”. “The idea”, he writes, “that moths were attracted to light is based on very unsatisfactory evidence and is probably due to a misidentification of material collected in the traps”! In St. Vincent, B.W.I., light attraction is evident from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., when it fails rapidly. By 5 a.m., though it is still dark, the moths are hiding as by day. In Egypt, Ballou3 found that there were always some moths that were not attracted. This difference has also been observed in St. Vincent and is not due to age, sex or condition. Attraction is strongest during the mating period. Wedded pairs are readily attracted, but in all cases prolonged exposure tires the response. There is no noticeable difference between the behaviour of long- and short-cycle moths.

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  1. 1

    Wilcocks, F. C., “The Insect and Related Pests of Egypt Injurious to the Cotton Plant”, Ministry of Agriculture, Egypt (1916).

  2. 2

    Busck, “The Pink Bollworm (Pectinophora gossypiella)”, J. Agric. Res., 9, No. 10 (1917).

  3. 3

    Ballou, H. A., “Cotton and the Pink Bollworm in Egypt”, West Indian Bull., 17, No. 4.

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  1. Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, St. Augustine, Trinidad, B.W.I.

    • F. A. SQUIRE


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