Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Direct and indirect influences of intercrops on the coconut defoliator Opisina arenosella

Shameer, K.S.; Nasser, M.; Mohan, Chandrika; Hardy, Ian C.W.

Direct and indirect influences of intercrops on the coconut defoliator Opisina arenosella Thumbnail


K.S. Shameer

M. Nasser

Chandrika Mohan

Ian C.W. Hardy


Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) infestation by Opisina arenosella (Lepidoptera: Oecophoridae) in the Indian sub-continent may occur in November to May each year in the same or adjoining areas of plantations. Parasitoids of O. arenosella may also be consistently present at these times. During other periods, pests and/or parasitoids could be maintained on intercrops that are commonly grown throughout the year. Field surveys of 54 intercrop species in Kerala, India, found that O. arenosella attacks banana, but not others, while laboratory screening showed that O. arenosella can mature on jack fruit, cashew and oil palm. Larvae of 20 lepidopteran species found on intercrops were screened for use by Goniozus nephantidis (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae), a larval parasitoid of O. arenosella, which oviposited on two species but its offspring failed to mature. Thirteen intercrop herbivore species were screened for use by Brachymeria nosatoi (Hymenoptera: Chalcididae), a pupal parasitoid of O. arenosella, which completed development on the pyralids Herculia nigrivita, Syllepte derogata and Psara basalis. Further, connectance trophic webs were compiled using prior field records of coconut, 33 species of intercrops, 58 species of lepidopteran herbivores and 29 species of primary parasitoids. Both laboratory and literature evidence suggests that populations of O. arenosella are unlikely to be maintained by feeding on intercrops or strongly influenced by direct competition with other lepidopterans but are likely to be affected by sharing parasitoids. Intercrop herbivores have clear potential for maintaining parasitoids of O. arenosella and we recommend thirteen plant species as intercrops that should aid in conservation biocontrol.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 24, 2017
Online Publication Date Aug 9, 2017
Publication Date Jan 31, 2018
Deposit Date Jul 31, 2017
Publicly Available Date Aug 9, 2017
Journal Journal of Pest Science
Print ISSN 1612-4758
Electronic ISSN 1612-4766
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 91
Issue 1
Pages 259-275
Keywords Plant-herbivore-parasitoid associations; Trophic connectance webs; Apparent competition; Natural 51 enemy maintenance; Coconut intercrops
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information The final publication is available at Springer via


Downloadable Citations