Mango shoot looper, the invasive pest from Asia, has been found in Mareeba, Mutchilba and Biboohra in North Queensland according to Biosecurity Queensland at Department of Agriculture and Fishing. It’s the first time the exotic moth has been detected in the country.
DAF announced it was undertaking surveillance activities to determine the extent of its distribution, and to inform response strategies and advice for industry.
Mango shoot looper larvae feed voraciously on tender shoots, flowers and immature fruit, and can severely damage tree canopies. The insect completes its full life cycle in 15-19 days, and the larval period is typically eight or nine days.
In Far North Queensland, the moth has been observed causing significant damage on mango plants, which includes totally stripping back flowers and damaging young fruit.
Severe infestations may cause 80-100 per cent leaf and flower damage on affected trees and significant crop losses due to damage to flowers and immature fruit.
Mango shoot looper is a threat to commercial mango and lychee production but, due to having only been found recently, its broader impact is currently unknown.
DAF added the Mango shoot looper does not affect the quality of mature mango or lychee fruit. No fruit supply issues are anticipated; mangoes and lychees will continue to be available on both the domestic and export markets and are safe to eat.