The red slug caterpillar of the colourful moth, Eterusia aedea (Linnaeus, 1763) (Lepidoptera: Zygaenidae) has earned considerable importance as a defoliator of tea during the last decade in major tea-producing countries like China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan and Taiwan. The damage is caused by all stages of larvae which feed mainly on mature tea leaves. In severe infestations bushes can become completely defoliated and sometimes the bark is also damaged. The pest is found sporadically throughout the plucking season or the flush period and even in winter. Under optimal conditions there may be 3–4 generations in a year. For control of this pest, synthetic pesticides are widely used. There are several reports related to the excessive application of insecticides resulting in the development of high tolerance in this pest to some of the insecticides. Quinalphos, emamectin benzoate and flubendamide were found to be effective in controlling population surge of red slug. At present, integrated management is being emphasized in protection of tea crop, where cultural, mechanical, physical, biological and chemical methods are in use. Works related to bio-ecology of E. aedea along with different management measures adopted for this pest are reviewed and discussed with special emphasis to Indian tea plantation. Further, future directions for better management of this emerging pest have been suggested.
Red slug caterpillar