Cabbage Centre Grub

Hellula hydralis and Hellula undalis

Family: Pyralidae

Order: Lepidoptera


Colour - Buff grey. Mottled.
Body - Small. Stout with long hair scales.
Wings - Mottled. 2 Pairs. Membranous. Hairy
Broad, Wingspan up to 180 mm in some species.
Mouthparts - Naked proboscis.
Antennae - 3 segments. Filiform (Finely hair like).
Legs - Broad overlapping scales. Feet (Tarsi) have 5 segments.
Head - Broad overlapping scales. Large rounded compound eyes.
Thorax - Broad overlapping scales. 3 segments. Front segment much smaller. Hairy
Abdomen - Broad overlapping scales. 7-11 segments. Spiracles on segments 1-7. Hairy
Egg - Flat.
Habits - Can't fly when cold.
Caterpillar -
Colour - Pale yellow with dark marks on its back.
Body - 10-15 mm long, 5-10 mm wide.
Mouthparts - Chewing.
Antennae - Short. 3 segments.
Legs - 5 segments. Single claw on end.
Head - Hard.
Thorax - 10-11 segments. Spiracles on segments 1 to 8. Prolegs on segments 3, 6 and 10.
Abdomen -
Habits - Herbivorous.


Life Cycle:

Eggs are laid on the host plant. Caterpillar mines the leaves when young then bores into the growing point. It pupates on the host.


Origin and History:



Caterpillars bore into the centre of cabbages and other Brassicas. Minor pest of turnips in Victoria where it bores into the growing point.

Management and Control:

In most years control is not economic.

Related Species:

Cabbage Cluster Caterpillar (Crocidolomia pavonana), Cucumber Moth (Diaphania indica), Wax moths (Galleria mellonella and Achroia grisella), Rice moth (Corcyra cephalonica), Meal moth (Pyralis farinalis)

Similar Species:


CSIRO. The Insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press. (1991) p889.

Victorian Department of Agriculture. Insect Bulletins. p24.


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