Conopomorpha cramerella (Snellen) (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) is the most devastating pest responsible for the decline of cocoa (cacao) production in Southeast Asia in the last few decades. Despite its economic importance, the basic ecological knowledge of the pest is poorly understood, indirectly resulting in poor efficacy of current pest management methods. Our study confirmed and updated the C. cramerella life cycle, and measured the natural distribution within trees in managed cocoa orchards, and movement of adults after they were disturbed. These nocturnal moths rest beneath branches during the d, with a strong preference for nearly horizontal branches. Females demonstrated a greater capacity for movement after disturbance compared to males (83.0 ± 89.9 cm in 9.1 ± 9.5 s versus 57.7 ± 49.2 cm in 6.7 ± 5.3 s for females and males, respectively), and rest closer to cocoa pods (61.0 ± 45.0 versus 76.0 ± 47.3 cm for females and males, respectively). Our observations described herein bring new ecological knowledge and provide new perspectives on potential IPM methods for pest C. cramerella populations.
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Vol. 102 • No. 2