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New Pest Found Destroying Banana Plantations In India

A new pest has been discovered destroying banana plantations in India. Infestations and damage has been found in Thiruvananthapuram, a major producer of bananas and in other banana farms in Kalliyoor, Kakkamoola and Pallichal near Vellayani according to The Hindu.

This chocolate-brown butterfly has been identified as the Banana Skipper or Palm Redeye (Erionota thrax), also known as the Banana Leaf Roller. It gets its name from the larva or the caterpillar that cuts the leaves at the edges and makes a series of cylindrical rolls before developing into a pupa.

Originally from Southeast Asia, they are found scattered across Northeast India, Sikkim, Nepal, the Andaman Islands, Mauritius, Malaysia, China, Vietnam, Hawaii and Papua New Guinea. Reports of new damage across the southern parts of India confirms the spread of the pest where a heavy infestation could strip bare banana leaves, just leaving the midrib intact.