Caterpillar Feeding Damage

Symptoms

Leaflets will typically have entire sections of the lamina missing with broad curved margins where the feeding has stopped. Often only the midrib of each leaflet will remain unconsumed. Caterpillars may feed on foliage of any age.

May be confused with

Sri Lanka weevil feeding damage is similar except that this insect leaves round notches about 1/4 inch in diameter along the margins of leaflets on the oldest leaves. Damage from caterpillar feeding is usually much more extensive and can be found on leaves of any age.

Cause

Several species of caterpillars routinely feed on palm foliage, with the species varying with the locality and season. A few examples are shown here, including saddleback caterpillar (Fig. 1) and nettle caterpillar (Fig. 2).

Last updated May 2015

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