Agricultural Study Materials Insects

Pest On Pulses – Agricultural studies


Gram pod borerHelicoverpa armigera    Noctuidae: Lepidoptera

  • It is a serious pest of chickpea, pigeonpea, pea, mungbean, urd bean, lentil, soybean, cowpea, cotton, sorghum, okra, maize, tomato, bhendi and sunflower.
  • Larva – polyphagous 
  • Feed on the foliage, when young and on the seed in later stages with their body hanging outside. A single larva may destroy 3-4 pods before it reaches maturity.
  • The moth is stout, yellowish brown. Dark speck (small spot) and a dark area near the outer margin of each forewing. The hind wings are whitish with a broad blackish band along the outer margin.
  • The females lay greenish eggs singly on tender parts of the plants. Larval period is 13-19 days. Pupate in the soil and the pupal period is 8-15 days. 

Plume moth Exelastis atomosa           Pterophoridae: Lepidoptera 

  • A specific pest of pigeonpea in many parts of India, particularly in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
  •  The caterpillars bore the pods and eat seeds. The larva excretes inside the damaged grain and due to this fungus develops in it.
  • Adult is small moth with yellowish brown wings, forewings are cut into 2 plumes and hind wings into 3.
  • The green oval eggs laid singly on buds and pods. Larvae are green or brown, spindle shaped and covered with spines and hair. Peak populations are during Nov to March.
  • Pupation takes place outside the pod on its surface or in the entrance hole itself. The pupal period extends from 3 to 12 days. The life-cycle is completed in 17-42 days.

Spotted pod borer Maruca testulalis    Pyraustidae: Lepidoptera

  • cowpea, lablab, green gram, black gram, red gram, soybean
  • The larvae web together the flowers and feed on them and also bore into pods and feed on the seeds.
  • Eggs are laid in small clusters of 10 to 15 on leaves, buds, and flowers. A full-grown larva measures 15mm in length, with a pale body lined by rows of conspicuous black spots on its dorsal surface. Pupation takes place in the web or on the soil surface in a silk cocoon. Adults have distinctive white bands on brown forewings.

Blue butterfliesLampides boeticus, Euchrysops cnejus Lycaenidae: Lepidoptera

  • Larva feeds on the buds and seeds.
  • Flat, green slug like caterpillar that pupates in soil.
  • Adults blue, black spots on the hind wings.


Spiny pod borer Etiella zinckenella     Phycitidae: Lepidoptera

  • It is a serious pest of lentils and green peas in northern India
  • The tiny greenish caterpillars bore the pods and eat away the young seeds.
  • The young larvae are green, but become pinkish- red as they get older. The larval stage is completed in 10-27 days. 
  • The moths are grey with a wing expanse of 25 mm. The fore wings have dark marginal lines and are interspersed with ochreous scales. Eggs are laid in clusters on fully mature pods.  Pupation takes place in the soil at a depth of 2-4 cm and the pupal development is completed in 10-15 days.

Field bean pod borerAdisura atkinsoni    Noctuidae: Lepidoptera 

  • a cold weather pest of lablab and red gram
  • The larvae feed on flower buds and bore into the pods feeding on the developing seeds and cause considerable loss. The adult is a pale yellowish-brown moth, with V-shaped specks on fore wings and pale brown markings on hind wings.
  • The full-grown larva is brownish-green and about 2.5 cm in length. The eggs are laid in the setting flowers and very young pods. A female may lay as many as 290-950 eggs. The eggs hatch in 2-3 days and the larvae bore into the pods and feed on the seeds. 
  • The larval stage lasts for 14-15 days and pupate in the soil. The pupal period is 8-16 days. 
  • During February to November, it hibernates in the pupal stage.

Red gram pod flyMelangromyza obtusa     Agromyzidae: Diptera 

  • Most common in northern India. It is a small metallic-black fly. 
  • Tiny maggots bore into the pods and feed on seeds. The maggots eat away only a part of the seed and the partially damaged seed becomes subject to bacterial and fungal infections. The damaged grains are thus, rendered unfit for human consumption.
  • Eggs are laid in the wall of an immature pod. Maggot is milky white, legless and about 3 mm in size.Five brownish strips runs along the entire mid dorsal line of the body.They are full-grown in 5-10 days. 
  • Pupation takes place inside the damaged pods and the life-cycle is completed in 11-27 days and several generations are produced in a year.

Flower WebberEublemma hemirrhoda    Noctuidae: Lepidoptera

  • Larva web the flower heads and bore into the pods.
  • Larva green with long white hairs on their body. Moth – yellow fore wings with purple patches and white hind wings.


Stem flyOphiomyia phaseoli        Agromyzidae: Diptera 

  • It is a very minute shiny black fly.
  • As a result of severe infestation, the leaves turn yellow, giving the plants a dry appearance. The stem turn brown, become swollen and break down.
  • The maggot is creamy in colour and apodous in form. White eggs are laid singly in holes made on the upper surface of young leaves, especially near the petiole end of the leaf. 
  • On hatching, the maggot forms a short linear leaf mine and further on it tunnels underneath the epidermis of the leaf until it reaches one of the veins which leads it to the midrib and then to the leaf stalk and the stem. 
  • Pupation takes place inside the stem. The barrel shaped pupae are black. The total life cycle takes 2-3 weeks.

Leaf webber    Eucosma critica        Eucosmidae: Lepidoptera

  • Larvae produce silk and use it to hold leaflets together. They feed from inside a web of leaflets, flowers, and pods. 
  • Eggs laid in clusters on buds and young leaves. Creamy yellow larva. It takes 3-4 weeks for a full life cycle under optimum conditions.

Ash Weevils Myllocerus viridanus ,M.discolor, M. maculosus  Curculionidae: Coleoptera 

  • Myllocerus spp are widespread in Asia in pigeonpea and several other host plants. Shot holes on the leaves and stunted growth of the plant are the symptoms.
  • Grubs live in the soil, and they feed mainly on roots. Adults feed on leaves.
  • The adult is 5 mm long with black dots on its ash-grey body, and hence commonly called “ash weevil”.
  • Grubs are white, legless, and stout-bodied. Pupation also occurs in the soil.

Blister beetle Mylabris pustulata    Meloidae: Coleoptera 

  • Adults feed on flower buds and petals of red gram. Adults are red and black in colour.

Pulse beetle  Callosobruchus maculates Bruchidae: Coleoptera

  • Attack grains in the field and storage. Grubs bore into the seeds and feed. Adults lay eggs on the seeds 

Leaf roller Caloptilia soyella            Gracillariidae : Lepidoptera

Leaf folder Anticarsia irrotata            Noctuidae : Lepidoptera 

Leaf folder Lamprosema indicata            Pyraustidae: Lepidoptera

Leaf miner Cyphosticha coerula            Gracillariidae : Lepidoptera

Hairy caterpillar Euproctis fraterna        Lymantriidae: Lepidoptera 

Leaf feeder Azazia rubricans            Noctuidae: Lepidoptera

Sphinx Agrius convolvuli, Acherontia styx     Sphingidae: Lepidoptera

Red hairy caterpillar Amsacta albistriga    Arctiidae: Lepidoptera

Bihar hairy caterpillar Spilosoma obliqua    Arctiidae: Lepidoptera

Bud weevil Ceuthorhynchus asperulus         Curculionidae: Coleoptera 

Flower weevil Amorphoidea arcuata                 Curculionidae: Coleoptera 

Pod bug

Clavigrella gibbosa, Clavigrella horrens, Anoplocnemis phasiana, 

Riptortus pedestris                       Coreidae: Hemiptera 

  • Both the adults and the nymphs suck cell sap from the stem, leaves, flower buds and pods. The pods show pale yellow patches and later on shrivel up. 
  • The grain inside remains small in size 

Clavigrella gibbosa :
The young nymphs are reddish and show prominent lateral spines on the pro thoracic and abdominal segments.

Clavigrella horrens : Nongibbous with spines

Anoplocnemis phasiana: Adults are brown or black, large in size with spine and enlarged femur.

Riptortus pedestris: They are brown in color, and slender. 

Bean aphid    Aphis craccivora    Aphididae: Hemiptera 

  • Nymphs and adults colonize on young stem, leaves, flowers and pods.
  • Both adult and nymph suck the sap from young stem, leaves, flowers and pods and excrete honey dew. Under heavy infestation, young leaves of seedlings become twisted, retard the pod development and grain formation. Seedlings may wilt, particularly under moisture-stressed conditions. 
  • Vector of stunt disease in chickpea.
  • The adults are black and shiny and some are winged. The nymphs are similar 
  • to the adults but smaller, grey and dull.

 Whitefly    Bemisia tabaci    Aleyrodidae: Hemiptera 

  • Transmits yellow mosaic virus (YMV)

Leafhopper    Empoasca spp.    Cicadellidae: Hemiptera 

  • Affected leaves turn pale and then rust-red. They curl downwards; in severe cases, show ‘hopper burn’ symptom, dry and fall to the ground.
  • Adult are small green insects 2.5 mm long, fly when disturbed.
  • Nymphs are yellowish – green, do not have wings.
  • Eggs are laid along veins on the underside of leaflets 

Stink bug    Coptosoma cribraria        Pentatomidae : Hemiptera 

Scale        Ceroplastodes cajanii    Coccidae: Hemiptera 


Eriophyid mite   Aceria cajani     Eriophyidae: Acarina

Red spider mite Schizotetranychus cajani , Tetranychus spp  Tetranychidae: Acarina 

  • These mites are widespread and common in pigeon pea throughout South Asia.
  • Eriophyid and spider mites are generally found on the lower leaf surface.
  • The eriophyid mite is the vector of the pigeon pea sterility mosaic disease 
  • Spider mites cause yellow or white spots on the upper surface of the infested leaflets. 
  • Heavy infestation results in bronzing of the leaves, followed by defoliation. 
  • The eriophyid mite is about 0.2 mm long. They are light-colored, long and spindle-shaped, and deposit their eggs on young foliage. 
  • spider mites are larger at 0.5 mm, oval-shaped, and dark-colored. 
  • Both groups of mites can complete a generation in less than two weeks under optimum conditions.
  • Dispersal is either a direct plant-to-plant or wind-aided.

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