Microlepidoptera on Solanaceae

Sceliodes cordalis


Sceliodes cordalis (Doubleday, 1843)

Common name: Poroporo fruit borer

Original combination: Margaritia cordalis Doubleday, 1843


  • Daraba extensalis Walker, 1866
  • Eretria obsistalis Snellen, 1880
  • Sceliodes mucidalis Guenée, 1854

Alternative combinations: none.

Classification: Pyraloidea: Crambidae: Spilomelinae, Leucinodes group

Adult recognition

Forewing length: 13.5 - 15.0 mm, broad. The frons is projected in a blunt cone. In the female, the apical segment of the palps is very long, nearly as long as the second segment; it is short in the male. The wings are white and orange-brown with broad white bands on the forewing costa. The forewing posterior margin does not have an obvious orange triangle. The male genitalia have a large fibula with several long "teeth" from the broad base and a narrow process from the apex. The female genitalia have a pair of rough, rounded ostial sclerites set in the slightly thickened antrum.

Immature stages

Larvae are pink and grow to 2.5 cm in length. The pinacula vary in degree of pigmentation, with those on the anterior segments and dorsal side generally more brown, and the other pinacula not colored. The prothoracic shield is not dark, but there are two pairs of distinct brown spots, one mid-laterally above the spiracles and the other on the middle posterior margin. The A8 SD1 seta is anterodorsal of the spiracle.

Similar species

Sceliodes laisalis has a non-projecting frons and a more visible orange triangle on the forewings. The male genitalia have an elongate saccus and fibulae without “teeth” (only one squat hook). Females have smooth, flat ostial sclerites and a thickened antrum. Characters that consistently separate the larvae of the two species have not been worked out, although S. laisalis may have darker pinacula.


One or two eggs are laid on green fruit, usually on or near the calyx, less often on leaves near the midrib. The larvae bore into fruit and consume the flesh and seeds. When they bore into the stem, they cause wilting of leaves. Larvae undergo 5 or 6 instars before emerging to pupate off the fruit. In New Zealand, they diapause as a prepupa, then pupate in the spring for 7 to 10 days. Two generations per year are reported in New Zealand, and there can be more in Australia.


The species is distributed in Australia and New Zealand.



  • Solanum melongena L. (eggplant)
  • S. muricatum Aiton (pepino)
  • S. aviculare G. Forst. (poroporo)


  • Capsicum annuum L. (pepper)
  • Datura wrightii Regel (as D. metel L.) (thornapple)
  • D. stramonium L. (thornapple, jimsonweed)
  • Solanum lycopersicum L. (tomato)
  • S. esuriale Lindl. (quena)
  • S. americanum Mill. (as S. linnaeanum Hepper and P.-M. Jaeger) (black nightshade)
  • S. tuberosum L. (potato)


Clearwater et al., 1986.

Davis, 1964.

Kay, 2010.

Kay, 2012.

Martin, 2010. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/factsheet/OrganismProfile/Poroporo_fruit_borer_-_Sceliodes_cordalis.html

Photo credits

Photo: © Plant & Food Research (New Zealand)