Mango shoot caterpillar

  • Caterpillar of the mango shoot caterpillar (Penicillaria jocosatrix)
    Mango shoot caterpillar (Penicillaria jocosatrix).

General information

Mango shoot caterpillar is also known as large mango tipborer.

Scientific name

Penicillaria jocosatrix

Description of adult

Adult moths have a wingspan of 25 mm and are russet-brown with light brown markings across the forewings. The hind-wings are white with a broad smoky-brown margin.

Indications of an infestation and the presence of activity are the sudden death of part of a branch and affected branches can crack and fall off.

Immature stages

Eggs are lemon-coloured and are laid singly on both leaf surfaces on new growth. Larvae are light green to grey in colour and grow to 27 mm long.

Life history

Eggs hatch in 3-5 days. Larval development takes 8-10 days. Mature larvae pupate in the soil and the moth emerges 16-20 days later.


The mango shoot caterpillar is widely distributed in South East Asia and in mango-growing areas of Australia.

Host range

Mango and cashew.


Minor and frequent; a pest in late summer.

This insect damages cashews. Larvae defoliate growth flushes. The growth of nursery stock, young trees and top-worked trees may be seriously set back by attack. Occasionally fruit stalks and young fruit are damaged.

Control options

Control measures should coincide with growth flushes. Check young growth for damage, especially during February-March. Examine five terminals on 20 trees widely spaced throughout the crop. Spray if more than 10 out of 100 trees are infested with live larvae. Apply an insecticide spray only if eggs or larvae are present and not for damage alone.


Damage is more severe in summer in the dry tropics.


Green tree ants will attack shoot caterpillar larvae and can help to limit damage in cashews.



Chemical registrations and permits

Check the Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority chemical database and permit database for chemicals registered or approved under permit to treat this pest on the target crop in your State/location. Always read the label. Always observe withholding periods.

Last updated 03 September 2012