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Digital Guide to Moth Identification

990520.00 – 19520   Maruca vitrata (Fabricius, 1787)
             Legume Pod Borer

Aaron Cavosie
Distribution: Cosmopolitan, widely distributed throughout tropical and subtropical regions.
"Captures have occurred in Texas (Williamson 1943), Florida (Dickel 1981), and Louisiana (Brou 1993). Klima (1939) reported M. vitrata from California. The introduction of M. vitrata into Hawaii (Zimmerman 1958) shows that this species has the ability to colonize new habitats" - Gilligan & Passoa (2014)
and Size:
Forewing length ranges 11-15mm
Larva and
Host Plants:
Larvae feed on representatives of the Fabaceae, however have been recoreded on Malvaceae, Solanaceae and Euphorbiaceae, Hosts of importance include Arachid hypogaea (peanut), Oryza sativa (rice), Phaseolus lunatus (lima bean), Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean). Pisum sativum (pea), Vicia faba (broad bean), Vigna unguiculata (cowpea),
Identification based on late instar larva is possible. Paired pinacula without setae present on T2-3 posterior to the D pinacula. Mandible has two inner teeth and an outer tooth.
Field Marks:
Forewings brown with three white spots on the upper half of the wing, in order of smallest to largest. Spots surrounded with black margins. The largest white spot (most-posterior) is broad and extends from the costa to two thirds the width of the wing. Forewing costal margin. Hindwing white with the terminal quarter being brown with an irregular inner margin.
Similar Species:
  • Gonocausta sabinalis has a similar pattern, and if the specimen is in poor condition, could be mistaken for M. vitrata. G. sabinalis has a slight yellow hue to the white spots on the fore and hindwings and it has a large triangular yellow-white patch, mid wing, that touches the posterior margin; this is not present in M. vitrata. Several North American Desmia and Spoladea are dark-brown with similar white spots on the forewing, however none of them have a near-completely white hindwing as in M. vitrata, rather they have a single irregular white band extending from the anterior margin to the posterior margin.
  • Pinned specimens of related species. (Hint: select View by Region on the related species page.)
Taxonomic Notes: Maruca vitrata (Fabricius, 1787) is now recognized within the North American fauna north of Mexico and is additionally listed as 5240.1.
  • (1) Gilligan, T.M., and Passoa, S. 2014. LepIntercept- An identification resource for intercepted Lepidoptera larvae. USDA-APHIS-PPQ Identification Technology Program (ITP). Fort Collins, CO. - species page
  • (2) Natural History Museum: HOSTS- website

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