Under the Microscope profiles the industry’s emerging and exotic diseases. Sometimes you just need the facts, fast.
What is Banana skipper butterfly?
Also known as the banana leaf roller, the banana skipper butterfly originates in South East Asia.
Adult butterflies are brown with three yellow-white areas at the front of their wings. They get the name ‘skipper’ from their fast, darting movements and are attracted to light. The adult female will lay small yellow eggs in batches of 12-25 on lower leaf sides, from which caterpillars emerge. The caterpillars have black heads, narrow necks and pale green bodies. As they grow, they roll up leaf sections and eat the leaves, also exuding a fine white powdery material.
What are the symptoms?
• Distinctive rolled up leaves, that can extend up to 15cm in length
• Caterpillars and/or a white powdery substance in the rolled up leaves
• Caterpillars also consume the leaves and can quickly cause significant amounts of defoliation
How do they spread?
• Banana skipper butterfly can spread over long distances as eggs on infected banana planting material
• As undetected butterflies on boats, vehicles or aircraft or within a localised region
Where in the world is it found?
Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, USA (Hawaii), Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Papua New Guinea. Its proximity to Northern Australia is of concern to the Australian banana industry.
What are we doing to protect our industry?
• Working to maintain strict quarantine procedures at our borders.
• Promoting good biosecurity among industry stakeholders
• Working with relevant authorities to stay informed about the incidence of banana skipper butterfly overseas.
What can I do to protect my farm?
• Use only high-health clean planting material
• Check your farm frequently for new pests and unusual symptoms
• Maintain good biosecurity practices
Who can I call?
Exotic Pest Hotline – 1800 084 881