P. flammans in adult and larval stages (Photo courtesy of Dr. Dupo)

Dr. Aimee Lynn B. Dupo, Curator of Geometrid Moths and Spiders at the UPLB Museum of Natural History recently reported the first occurrence of Phauda flammans Walker 1954 infesting on Ficus benjamina trees in the Philippines.

Dr. Dupo, along with University of Santo Tomas (UST) students Elliaj Kaye Capacete, Alice Geraldine Hernando, Richard Lagrimas, Jalizah Jaira Lim, Sharlaine Orense, Joan Rivera, Gerald Soliven, Michael Tabug presented the report during the recently held 2016 conference of the Association of Systematic Biologists of the Philippines last 19-20 May at UST, Manila.

According to their report which won 2nd Place in the conference's Best Poster Paper Competition, a number of slug-like caterpillars (Photo above right) were observed defoliatingFicus benjamina trees in Los Banos, Laguna in the early weeks of April 2016.

"We reared the larvae we collected into adults (Photo above left) and confirmed that the pests were Phauda flammans, one of the notorious defoliators of Ficus spp. trees," Dupo said. Phauda is a genus of moths of the Zygaenidae family.

The research group said that the occurrence of Phauda flammans is a new country record. In addition, the host plant, Ficus benjamina is also a new host plant record for P. flammans.

"We are able to provide morphological descriptions of the last larval instar of P. flammans which will be important in identifying the pest in the field," Dr. Dupo also said.


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