Status of Eldana saccharina Walker (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), its host plants and natural enemies in Ethiopia
Surveys for sugarcane stem borers were undertaken in Ethiopia to determine the prevalence and distribution of these and their natural enemies in crops and indigenous host plants. Eldana saccharina Walker was not recovered from sugarcane, but was present in three indigenous wetland sedges, Cyperus papyrus, C. fastigiatus and C. dives in the southern, central and northern part of the country. The latter indigenous host plant was present in waterways adjacent to sugarcane on the commercial sugar estates. The tachinids Schembria eldanae Barraclough and Actia sp. were common parasitoids of E. saccharina larvae in these indigenous sedges. The braconid Dolichogenidea sp. was recovered from E. saccharina larvae in C. dives. Pathogens comprising Beauveria bassiana, Bacillus thuringiensis and Entomophthora sp., were found to be important mortality factors of E. saccharina larvae in the indigenous sedges. The occurrence of E. saccharina in Ethiopia is reported for the first time, and the host plant preferences of the borer and its indigenous natural enemies found during the surveys are recorded. In addition, its potential threat to sugarcane production in Ethiopia is discussed.