It is a widespread, pan-tropical species (Robinson et al., 1994), known from Africa, India, Sri Lanka, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia, Samoa, Hawaii, South America and the West Indies. It is occasionally recorded from Europe through accidental importation in bones and animal hides.
The larvae feed on a wide range of dead and decaying materials, including stored grain, meal, pulses, dried fruit, bones, animal hides (Goater, 1986; Robinson et al., 1994) and chocolate. Adults are primarily nocturnal, though easily disturbed by day in warehouses; they are attracted to ultraviolet light (Robinson et al., 1994). Weistein and Edwards (1994) found a self-sustaining population of this moth species feeding on bat guano in a cave.
- Robinson, G.S., Tuck, K.R. & Shaffer, M., 1994. A Field Guide to the Smaller Moths of South-East Asia. The Natural History Museum, London & Malaysian Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur. 307 pp.
- Weistein, P. & Edwards, E.D., 1994. Troglophilic moths in Australia: first record of a self-sustaining population. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 33: 371-319
- Wang, H.Y., 2000. Guide Book to Insects in Taiwan. 19, Pyraloidea (Pyralidae, Crambidae). Shu Shin Books, Taipei, Taiwan. xii+295 pp.
- Goater, B., 1986. British Pyralid Moths - A Guide to their Identification. Harley Books, Colchester, England. 175 pp.
- Zimmerman, Elwood C. (1958). Insects of Hawaii. 8 Lepidoptera: Pyraloidea. University of Hawaii Press. hdl:10125/7337.
- "62.0712 [B&F: 1418] Pyralis manihotalis Guenée, 1854". Hantsmoths. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
- Weinstein, P. & Edwards, E.D. (1994) "Troglophilic Moths in Australia: First Record of a Self-sustaining Population". Journal of the Australian Entomological Society. 33: 371-319.
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