Scirpophaga incertulas

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Yellow stem borer
Scirpophaga incertulas female moth.png
Scirpophaga incertulas.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Crambidae
Genus: Scirpophaga
Species: S. incertulas
Binomial name
Scirpophaga incertulas
(Walker, 1863)
  • Chilo incertulas Walker, 1863
  • Chilo incertellus Walker, 1917
  • Catagela admotella Walker, 1863
  • Schoenobius punctellus Zeller, 1863
  • Schoenobius minutellus Zeller, 1863
  • Tipanaea bipunctifera Walker, 1863
  • Chilo gratiosellus Walker, 1864
  • Schoenobius bipunctifer ab. quadripunctellifera Strand, 1918

Scirpophaga incertulas, the yellow stem borer or rice yellow stem borer, is a species of moth of the Crambidae family. It was described by Francis Walker in 1863. It is found in Afghanistan, Nepal, north-eastern India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sumba, Sulawesi, the Philippines, Taiwan, China and Japan.[1]



The wingspan of the male is 18–22 mm and the female is 34 mm.[2] Adult males are smaller than the females. Males are brownish ochreous. Forewings irrorated (sprinkled) with dark scales and with the veins slightly streaked with fuscous. A black spot found at lower angle of cell. There is an oblique fuscous line runs from apex to vein 2. A marginal black specks series can be seen. Hindwings ochreous white. Female fuscous brown with pale fuscous hindwings.[3]


The larvae feed on Oryza sativa. It is considered as a major rice pest throughout India and Sri Lanka and it devastates harvests annually. They bore the stem of their host plant. Full-grown larvae are pale yellow to yellowish green with a brown head and reach a length of 20 mm. Pupation takes place in a white silk cocoon.


After hatching, early instars bore into the leaf sheath and causing longitudinal yellowish-white patches as a result of feeding. Then it invades the stem of the rice plant and stays in the pith to feed on the inner surface of the stem wall. These are not externally visual as symptoms. Severe feeding causes a deep circular cut through the parenchyma tissue showing deadhearts at the vegetative stages and whiteheads at the reproductive stages.[4]


Due to heavy damage to rice throughout the world, many controlling measures are underway. Chemical, physical, and biological controls and many traditional methods are used to control the pest at any stage of its life cycle. Numerous pest resistant paddy varieties have been genetically modified and introduced in to the fields by the local governments. In biological control, egg parasitism is high and widespread. Species of the three genera Telenomus, Tetrastichus and Trichogramma are greatly effective against eggs, larva and adult moths.[4]

Conocephalus longipennis, a grasshopper is known as a serious predator of moth eggs. Other than many insect parasitoids, fungi, bacteria, viruses and mermithid nematodes are also used in eradication processes.[4]


  1. ^ Scirpophaga at Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and Some Other Life Forms
  2. ^ cycle-of-yellow-stem-borer-scirpophaga-incertulas-wlk Life cycle of Yellow stem borer Scirpophaga incertulas Wlk
  3. ^ Hampson G. F. (1896). The Fauna of British India Including Ceylon and Burma: Moths. IV. Taylor & Francis. Retrieved 19 August 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c "Yellow stem borer (Scirpophaga incertulas)". Plantwise Technical Factsheet. Retrieved 26 October 2016. 

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