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 180mm 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 - 10-15mm long, 5-10mm 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.


Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 for more information.