Coconut skipper as a pest explained

Coconut skipper as a pest explained
If coconut trees sway in your neighbourhood, it's essential to keep them healthy and thriving. Let's talk about two sneaky troublemakers: Gangara thyrsis and Suastus gremius, also known as the Coconut Skippers. These pests might be tiny, but they can cause big problems by munching on coconut tree leaves.
Gangara thyrsis larvae are pale green with reddish markings, while Suastus gremius larvae are smooth and green, tapering at both ends. These critters hide within their leafy homes, making it hard to spot them. But don't worry, we've got ways to deal with them!

What to Watch For
Notice any leaflet tips curling up? Or maybe half of a leaflet looks like it's been snipped and rolled into a mini sleeping bag? That's your signal that these pests might be up to no good!
Picture this: sneaky caterpillars making cosy homes out of your coconut palm leaves, munching away from the inside and leaving behind just the skeleton-like ribs.


The grown-up butterfly is about 80 mm wide and has brownish wings with six bright yellow spots on the front.
When it's time to make babies, the butterfly lays its eggs in weird bunches, like little surprises hidden in the leaves. After about a week, these eggs hatch, bringing tiny caterpillars into the world.
These little critters are like nature's ninjas, dressed in pale green with subtle red markings and covered in a shield of white waxy stuff. For around 35 days, they quietly chow down on their leafy buffet, growing up safe and sound in their leafy hideouts.

But when it's time for a change, they transform inside their leafy homes for about 10 days, emerging as beautiful butterflies ready to spread their wings and explore the world, leaving behind their leafy shelters as reminders of their journey.

Spotting the Trouble Makers
Gangara Thyrsis
Baby Bugs (Lara): They're kind of pale green with reddish marks and coated in this white waxy stuff.

Grown-ups (Adults): A butterfly with chocolate brown wings and yellow spots!
The Giant Redeye butterfly is distinguished by its large wine-red eyes and dark chocolate-brown colouration, marked with three large and three small yellow spots on its forewings. Both males and females look the same. It possesses the longest proboscis among butterflies in peninsular India, uniquely curved and extending beyond its body length, allowing it to extract nectar from the deepest flowers.

Lifecycle of the Giant Redeye Butterfly

The female Giant Redeye butterfly lays eggs one at a time on palm leaves, mostly in sunny spots. After hatching, the larva stays on the same leaf, making folds for protection. It moves to new leaves as it grows, creating tunnels for feeding. By the fourth stage, it secretes a white powder for protection and feeds voraciously on young leaves. Finally, it stops feeding to prepare for pupation, remaining on the same plant until then.

During its larval stage, the caterpillar is pale greenish with red-orange markings, concealed within white waxy structures. It is cylindrical, with a rounded end, and secretes a waxy substance that hides its surface, making it appear pale green. The butterfly is crepuscular, active after dusk, and prefers resting on vertical surfaces in dark places, occasionally attracted to light.
Females lay eggs individually on the upper surface of palm leaves, and the caterpillars create tubular cells by folding leaf edges. When disturbed by predators, the pupa uses its curved proboscis to produce a hissing sound against the leaf surface. The entire life cycle from egg to adult lasts 30-35 days.

Suastus premiums
Little Ones (Lara): Smooth, green, and sorta narrow at both ends, with a tight spot in the middle.
Grown-ups (Adults): Think of a brownie with yellow sprinkles on its wings!

Oviposition Host Plant
Suastus gremius fabricius or Palm Bob prefers damp areas near streams and rivers with plenty of food plants. After rainy seasons, adults lay eggs, which hatch into larvae that munch on plants like Phoenix acaulis, fishtailed palms (Caryota urens), and coconuts (Cocos nucifera).


These butterflies fly fast and get jittery when disturbed. They like visiting flowers, sunbathing, and sometimes even puddling on bird droppings.

Early Stages
Palm Bob caterpillars feed on leaves of Coconut and Lady Palms found in parks and gardens. They make shelters by cutting and folding leaf fragments. After about 4 days, eggs hatch into bright orangy-red caterpillars.

Female Palm Bobs lay eggs on palm leaves. Each egg is dome-shaped and wine-red, about 1.4mm wide. After 4 days, they hatch into tiny caterpillars.

Newborn caterpillars are about 3mm long, bright orangy-red, with cylindrical bodies and reddish-brown heads. They nibble their eggshells and grow, making larger shelters as they get bigger.

Adult Suastus gremius fabricius butterflies vary in appearance based on gender. Males have unmarked wings, while females have two pale yellow crescentic spots on the hind wing. They're not commonly seen, but when spotted, they have a distinct pale brown wing with five black spots. Both males and females look alike, with semi-transparent spots on their forewings.

Physical Description
The wings are brown on top, with pale yellow spots on the forewings and unmarked hind wings. Underneath, the wings are greyish-brown, with the hind wings featuring black spots overlaid with buff scaling.

How to Fight Back

Ready to protect your palms? Here's the game plan:

● Do a bit of bug hunting with neem or by studying these critters up close. Then, say bye-bye to them!
● Grab some carbaryl 50 WP spray to send those pests packing!
● If leaf caterpillars are bothering you, give them a root-feeding treatment every 45 days, three times in a row.
● Light traps are your secret weapon against adult moths. Set 'em up to catch those pesky flyers!
● And when things get really sticky, spray some dichloros 76 WSC to show those pests who's boss!
Let's team up to keep our coconut trees happy, healthy, and pest-free! Together, we'll make sure our green spaces stay awesome for years to come. Keep your eyes peeled, young defenders!