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Giant wood moth

Giant wood moths affect plantation productivity by weakening trees and increasing risk of breaking in strong winds. They attack trees more than 3 years old, and the damage can reduce the quality of harvested logs.

Scientific name

Endoxyla cinereus

Description

  • Larvae are large, up to 10cm long and 2-3cm wide, creamy with pinkish stripes and a brown head, and tunnel in sapwood and heartwood while feeding.
  • Adults are large with a wingspan of 25cm but are rarely seen.
  • Early activity is often found as a pile of coarse frass (similar to sawdust) at the base of the tree stem.
  • Swollen stem around the entrance hole.
  • Larvae feed singly in J-shaped tunnels in both sapwood and heartwood.
  • Before the moths emerge in midsummer, a large, circular exit hole (3-5cm diameter) is created above the smaller entrance hole, which is often plugged with frass.
  • Empty pupal cases may protrude from exit holes during summer.

Distribution

  • New South Wales, and South East to North Queensland.
  • Recorded 200km inland at Theodore, Queensland.

Hosts

  • Gympie messmate (Eucalyptus cloeziana)
  • rose gum (E. grandis and hybrids)
  • Dunn's white gum (E. dunnii)
  • grey gum (E. longirostrata).

Damage

  • Tunnels made by the larvae weaken smaller stems, which can snap in strong winds.
  • Yellow-tailed black cockatoos tear into stems when feeding on wood moth larvae, further damaging and weakening the tree.

Resources and research

Contact

General enquiries 13 25 23