Thecla moth, Elaphria moth
Latin Name: Thecla basilides, Elaphria nucicolora
Family: Thecla: Lycaenidae; Elaphria: Noctuidae
Main Host(s): Pineapple; for Elaphria also sugarcane
T. basilides and E. nucicolora are major pests of pineapples in the tropical regions of the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico, Central and South America. Thecla also occurs on wild hosts (Bromeliacea), as well as corn and cacao. Elaphria is found in the more (sub)-tropical regions of the Americas, including South-Eastern US, Caribbean and tropical South America. It counts as host plants sugarcane, watermelon and wild herbs. E. nucicolora is also called the sugarcane midget moth.
Thecla females lay single eggs on upper and middle fruitlet bracts. The eggs hatch in five days and the young larvae bore into the pineapple inflorescence. Thecla larvae generally damage the developing fruit in weeks 7-12, prior to flowering and well thereafter. No eggs are laid on mature fruit. Elaphria becomes a problem in weeks 10-15 of pineapple fruit development.