Forestry in South Africa
Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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FABI Articles : Cossid moth detected in KwaZulu-Natal

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Cossid moth detected in KwaZulu-Natal

The cossid moth, Coryphodema tristis, has recently been detected in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands area where it is infesting Eucalyptus nitens. Native to South Africa, the cossid moth was first detected infesting E. nitens in 2004, but this is the first report of the insect infesting E. nitens outside its previous infestation area in Mpumulanga (Elandshoogte-Carolina-Lothair).

Larvae of the cossid moth infest trees, resulting in extensive tunneling and consequent weakening of the trees, predisposing them to wind fall and infection by pathogens. Although it has many recorded native and non-native plant hosts, this insect has not yet been recorded on any other species of Eucalyptus other than E. nitens. Since 2004 there has been considerable research conducted both at FABI and by TPCP members in-house that are affected by this pest. These investigations have for example considered the recent host association of the cossid moth on E. nitens and they have explored possible management options. A very recent break through by FABI PhD student Marc Bouwer, has been the successful development of a species-specific lure to attract and catch adult female moths. This lure will now enable us to better monitor infestations and it could potentially also be used to control populations of the moth. However, further development of this tool and research into other management options are clearly required.

In order to better understand the extent of the spread of the cossid moth to new areas, please contact Brett Hurley (, 082 9093211) should you notice symptoms of this insect outside the known area of infestation, i.e. Elandshoogte-Carolina-Lothair.

Images of the insect and its symptoms can be obtained on the FABI website,, and further information is available in the attached scientific papers.

Download the PDF documents:

Brett Brett Hurley (PhD)
Researcher and Senior Lecturer
Department of Zoology and Entomology
Tree Protection Cooperative Programme (TPCP)
Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI)
University of Pretoria

Phone: +27 12 420 5822
Fax: +27 12 4203960