Cucumber moth, Diaphania indica

Diaphania indica, Cucumber moth is one of the serious pests of plant under cucubitaceae.

It is also known as cotton caterpillar, pumpkin caterpillar. It infests cumber, melon, gherkin, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, snake gourd, Luffa, little cucumber, cotton etc. It is reported in other families, Leguminosae and Malvaceae. The synonyms are Botys hyalinalis, Eudioptis capensis, Glyphodes indica, Hedylepta indica, Margaronia indica, Palpita indica,Phacellura indica, Phakellura curcubitalis, Phakellura gazorialis, Phakellura zygaenalis. It is distributed in India, China, Japan, South Korea, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, sub-Saharan Africa, USA (Florida) and Northern Territory of Australia.

Russell IPM manufactures and supplies pheromone lure, traps and complete monitoring systems for Diaphania indica, Cucumber Moth. Pheromone trap data give early warning of the infestation and also will alert the user to low level of populations before they become serious.


Shashpa, (2004) reported that the pre-oviposition, oviposition and post-oviposition periods of Diaphania indica averaged 2.0, 5.1 and 1.5 days, respectively. A female laid an average of 187.1 eggs. The average egg, larval, prepupal and pupal stages lasted for 4.75, 11.9, 1.3 and 9.4 days, respectively. The female to male sex ratio was 1.08:1. The longevity of adults varied from 8.45 to 9.0 days. The mean developmental period from oviposition to adult emergence ranged from 23 to 33 days with an average of 27.35 days.

Nature of Damage

IThe young larvae fed on chlorophyll and skeletonized the leaves of cucurbits, while the older larvae folded and webbed together the leaves and fed within. The young and older larvae were also observed feeding on flowers and boring into ovaries, new tender shoots and young and developing as well as mature fruits in the case of little gourd and bitter gourd. Observations showed that the damage to the fruit was 90% in little gourd and 60% in bitter gourd. In the case of pointed gourd, the damage by the larvae was restricted to leaves only and it was 25-30%. Common mynah (Acridotheres tristis) and cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) were found predating on larvae of Diaphania Indica(Jhala, et al., 2004).


Russell IPM manufactures and supplies pheromone lure – the Qlure, traps and complete monitoring systems for Diaphania indica, Cucumber Moth.

Pheromone trap data gives early warning of the infestation and will also alert the user to a low level of population before it becomes serious.

The lure can be best applied with the Mothcatcher trap or Delta trap.

Application Guidelines

Lures can be changed every 4-6 weeks to get the most accurate results.

Lures Handling
Pheromone lures are a very sensitive tool. They can be affected by exposure to elevated heat and direct sunshine. Direct touching by hand may cause cross contamination leading to mixed catches in the trap. Some contaminants such as Nicotine May have repellent effect reducing trap catch.

Lure Storage

Store in a cool dry place. Shelf life can vary from 3-36 months depending on the storage temperature. See Technical Data Sheet for further details.

Trap Selection

The Deltra trap is the most sensitive trap to use for monitoring this insect. However, Moth catcher may be used in dusty conditions or in high moth population density.

Trap Density

Do not re-use the trap to monitor different insects as this may lead to mixed catches. One trap for every two hectares of large scale fields of homogenous lands.

Two traps per hectare (2trap/ha) for small holdings and in field of uneven topography.

Trap Position

Place traps near the highest point of the plant using supporting posts approximately 1 meter high, or higher if the crop is higher.

Data and Interpretation

Collect data weekly from the start of the flight of the over wintering generation. During the height of the population more frequent reading may be needed. Decisions on pesticide application should not be taken solely on the trap catch data. Climatic and biological considerations should be taken in account.

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