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White Rice Borer

Scientific Name
Scirpophaga nivella
Scientific Author
Fabricius 1794
Australian Native Species

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Diagnostic Images

Larva in stem
S. Eyres (Imaging Consultant)
S. Eyres Department of Agriculture WA
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Diagnostic Images (9)
Diagnostic Notes
Identification is currently undergoing peer review as part of the National Diagnostic Protocols by SPHDS.

This species is the same moth as the Australian species, Scirpophaga chrysorrhoa which is present in Northern Australia, south along Queensland and along the eastern coast to northern New South Wales. Light trapping is continually being conducted throughout the Northern Territory to definitively diagnose the presence and extent of establishment. Additional data will be added to the protocol as it becomes available.

Young larvae chew through to the main vein of a new folded leaf within the central whorl and cause a transverse row of small holes in the leaf surface. Older larvae tunnel to the growing point and into the internodes. A brown line and yellowy marks form on the underside of leaves even well after the moth has emerged. The tunnelling ends above the ground and runs almost to the epidermis where pupation occurs (Kalshoven 1981).

Egg laid in masses of 6-30 usually on the underside of leaves near the main vein and can be concealed by scales and hairs.

Larvae young larvae are brownish yellow and become whiter in colour as they age. Dorsally a red blood vessel line is seen medially and the brown cervical sclerite has a white median line.

Pupae the pupa is yellow in a silk cocoon and pupates near the epidermis.

♂ ocherous, labial palpus about 1.3 x diameter of eye; forewing ocherous with 4 fuscous spots, 3 on submedian fold & 1 at lower angle of cell, an oblique irregular fuscous line extends inwards from costa near apex to spot 3 on fold, series of small fuscous dots along termen, underside fuscous; hindwing whitish, costal area and basal half ocherous, underside ocherous in basal half.

♀ usually white sometimes upperside of forewing suffused with pale ochreous; frenulum 2 bristles; anal tuft ochreous yellow.


♂ subteguminal process large, flattened with sinuous margin; valva rather elongate, apex more or less pointed posteriorly; aedeagus slightly swollen in apical 4th; vesica with coarse spines, 1 slender and 2 unequal long based cornuti present.

♀ ostium bursae broad, membranous, wrinkled and lined with minute spines; ductus bursae with 2 forms of sclerotization (Bleszynski 1970).

Coming soon - PBT link
More Information
Specimen Contact
DAFF Biosecurity Darwin
S. Anderson & L. Tran-Nguyen
27/02/2012 11:08 AEST
Last Updated
27/02/2012 11:08 AEST
S. Anderson & L. Tran-Nguyen (2012) White Rice Borer (Scirpophaga nivella) Updated on 2/27/2012 11:08:13 AM Available online: PaDIL -
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Free for use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License