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Digital Guide to Moth Identification

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990535.0019535Neoleucinodes elegantalis – Tomato Fruit Borer Moth – (Guenée, 1854)
Distribution Data for Neoleucinodes elegantalis
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Distribution: South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean (1)
and Size:
Several generations annually in areas where species is currently established (1)
Forewing length is 8.0-13.0 mm (4)
Larva and
Host Plants:
Pest of tomato and other Solanaceae. Recorded on Capsicum annuum (Pepper, including bell and chili peppers) and Solanum melongena (eggplant) (1,4).
Larvae are pale white, with a pale yellow prothoracic shield mottled with light brown markings. The body pinacula are not pigmented. (4,5)
Field Marks:
Moths white with brown basal and apical patches and reddish brown patch on dorsum at middle. Labial palps sexually dimorphic, females with apical segment almost as long as the second segment; males with short apical segment. Males with narrow triangle-shaped valves; phallus possessing a single long, straight, cornutus.
Similar Species: Identification keys are available for Neoleucinodes in the New World (2). Neoleucinodes elegantalis is most similar to N. silvaniae (3).
Tomato fruit borer moths, Neoleucinodes elegantalis, can be distinguished from N. silvaniae by the following (3,4):
- Females of N. elegantalis with longer third segment of the labial palpi than male or female N. silvaniae.
- Posterior apophyses twice as long in N. elegantalis, relative to N. silvaniae.
- Male clasper of the valva flatter in N. elegantalis than N. silvaniae.
- Cornutus shorter in N. silvaniae (almost half as long than N. elegantalis)
  • (1) Molet, T. 2012. Pest datasheet for Neoleucinodes elegantalis. Accessible at Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey. [pdf]
  • (2) Capps, H. 1948. Status of the Pyraustid moths of the genus Leucinodes in the New World, with descriptions of new genera and species. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 98(3223): 69-83. [pdf]
  • (3) Diaz, A.E., and Solis, M.A. (2007). A new species and species distribution records of Neoleucinodes (Lepidoptera: Crambidae: Spilomelinae) from Colombia feeding on Solanum sp. Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 109: 897-908.
  • (4) Hayden, J. E., Lee, S., Passoa S.C., Young, J., Landry, J.-F., Nazari, V., Mally, R., Somma, L.A., and Ahlmark. K.M. 2013. Digital Identification of Microlepidoptera on Solanaceae. USDA-APHIS-PPQ Identification Technology Program (ITP). Fort Collins, CO.
  • (5) Gilligan, T.M., and Passoa. 2014. LepIntercept- An identification resource for intercepted Lepidoptera larvae. USDA-APHIS-PPQ Identification Technology Program (ITP). Fort Collins, CO. website
  • (6) Species Page at BOLD Barcoding Project - website.
Data compiled and contributed by Christi Jaeger, MEM from references cited.

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