Lucerne Seed Web Moth or Etiella Moth

Etiella behrii

Family: - Pyralidae

Order: - Lepidoptera



Colour - .Grey with a orange band across the fore wing and a white stripe along the front of the forewing.

Body - Small. Stout with long hair scales.

Wings - 2 Pairs. Membranous. Hairy. Forewings generally darker than hind wings apart from markings.

Mouthparts -

Antennae - 3 segments. Filiform (Finely hair like).

Legs - Broad overlapping scales. Feet (Tarsi) have 5 segments.

Head - Smooth. 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. Oval.

Habits - Can't fly when cold.

Caterpillar -

Colour - Young ones are white, older ones green with reddish stripes along the back.

Body - .Cylindrical. 20mm.

Mouthparts - Chewing.

Antennae - Short. 3 segments.

Legs - 5 segments. Single claw on end.

Head - Hard.

Thorax - 3 pairs of legs.

Abdomen - 10-11 segments. Spiracles on segments 1 to 8. Prolegs on segments 3, 6 and 10.

Habits - Herbivorous. Live in shelters made by binding pods together with silk.


Life Cycle:

Eggs are laid from September through to March. These hatch and burrow into the seed pods and bind them together. Warm and dry conditions in early spring favour the pest.


Origin and History:



Caterpillars bore into the pods of lucerne and lupins to feed on the grain. They are a major pest of lucerne grown for seed production and an occasional pest of lupins. They form shelters by binding clusters of pods with silken threads.

Management and Control:

In Lucerne, adequate irrigation reduces the effects of the pest. Crops destined for seed production are often sprayed.

In lupins, spraying is not usually economic. Early planting helps reduce the impact of the pests. Late crops in dry years are usually the worst affected.

Related Species:

Cabbage Centre Grub (Crocidolomia binotalis), 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) p887.

WADA. Insects and Allied Pests of Extensive Farming. Department of Agriculture - Western Australia Bulletin No. 4185. p45.


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