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Pests and Diseases
Croton caterpillar (Achaea janata)
noni stem lesion (canker)
Several noni croton caterpillars feeding on a noni seedling.

Pest: Croton caterpillar (Achaea janata)

Damage: Croton caterpillars feed on leaves of noni seedlings. The caterpillars can consume most of the foliage, leaving large gaping holes in the leaves with just the veins and petioles remaining.

Distribution: This moth is widespread throughout the tropical and subtropical Pacific, in Australia, and the Orient and has a wide host range. It was first collected in Hawaii in 1944 and is now present on all major islands. The croton caterpillar was first observed on noni in the Hilo, Hawaii in 2002.

Host range: The croton caterpillar feeds on many different species of plants. Castor bean and croton are preferred hosts. Occasional hosts include banana, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, crown of thorns, Ficus, macadamia, mustard, poinsettia, rose, sugarcane and tomato as well as some legumes, teas, Brassica species and noni.

  1. Biological control (natural enemies).
  2. Grow seedlings on elevated benches and increase plant spacing in nurseries to eliminate hiding places for the caterpillars.
  3. Use of pyrethroid insecticides.
  4. Hand-picking and destruction of caterpillars.
Notes: Noni stem canker has not been previously reported to occur in Hawaii or elsewhere in the world.

Last Updated on December 7, 2006