Deudorix livia

Deudorix livia (Klug)

(Also known as Virachola livia)

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae.

Common name: Pomegranate butterfly, pomegranate playboy.

Geographic distribution: Mediterranean countries, Iran, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula and Ukraine.

Host plants: Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) , Acacia spp., Prosopis farcata (Banks & Sol.) J.F.Macbr.

Morphology: Female wings brown-blue, those of the male brown-orange. The hindwings of both sexes with a dark round spot, and the posterior part of the wings bear a tail-like prolongation; length of body 8-12 mm. Color of larvae brown-red, each segment with small bristles, length 15-18 mm.

Life history: The primary host of V. livia are the green pods of Acacia spp.; when such pods are scarce the pest attacks pomegranate fruits, subsequently returning to Acacia. A female lays up to 190 eggs, and the larvae borrow a hole into the fruit and develop there, suffering much mortality (>50%) due to juice from the fruit. The mature larvae emerge to pupate in the fruit crown or in other concealed sites. The calculated threshold of development is 13°C and 365 day degrees are required for the development of a generation. In the Middle East V. livia completes 6-8 annual generations.

Economic importance: The extent of pomegranate infestation depends on the season, which in early and late varieties may reach 25%; in mid-season up to 70%. The main attack thus takes olace when the green pods of Acacia are scarce. Additional damage is due to the invasion of saprophytic bacteria and molds into the fruits.


Horticultural methods: The removal of Acacia trees (whose pods are the primary hosts) that grow near pomegranate orchards will reduce pest numbers. Nets placed around small pomegranate plots reduce pest infestation.

Plant tolerance: Several pomegranate varieties were relatively tolerant to the pest in Tunisia. In Jordan the Hlawi variety is also relatively tolerant.

Chemical control: A carbamate reduced pest damage in Turkey from 15% to 2%, with at least two applications. Other pesticides used include pyrethroids and IGRs. In Egypt spinosads and a commercial preparation of Bacillus thuringiensis controlled the pest.

Biological control: The release of the trichogrammatid parasitoids Trichogramma brassicae Bezdenko and Telenomus evanescens Westwood on pomegranate trees reduced infestations of V. livia from 31% to 1.1% in Oman.


Abbas, M.S.T., Razvi, S.A., Shidi, R.H. and Al-Khatry, S.A. 2008. Role of egg parasitoids for controlling the pomegranate butterfly, Virachola livia Klug (Lycanidae: Lepidoptera) in sultanate of Oman. Egyptian Journal of Biological Pest Control 18: 43–48.

Gharbi, N. 2010. Laboratory rearing of pomegranate fruit butterfly Virachola livia on two host plants in Tunisia. Tunisian Journal of Plant Protection 5: 195-199.

Kahramanoglu, I. and Usanmaz, S. 2013. Management strategies of fruit damaging pests of pomegranates: Planococcus citri, Ceratitis capitata and Deudorix (Virachola) livia. African Journal of Agricultural Research 8: 6563-6568.

Ksentini, I., Jardak, T. and Zeghal, N. 2011. First report on Virachola livia Klug. (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) and its effects on different pomegranate varieties in Tunisia. EPPO Bulletin 41: 178-182.

Obeidat, W. and Akkawi, M. 2002. Bionomics and control of pomergranate butterfly Virachola (Deudorix) livia (Klug) (Lepidoptera: Lycanidae) in Northern Jordan. Dirasat Agricultural Sciences 29: 1-12.

Sharon, R., Sela, L., Peretz, S., Peles, S. and Harari A. R. 2008. Pests of pomegranate in Israel. Haklaei Israel 36: 34-37 (in Hebrew).

Temerak, S.A. and Sayed, A.A. 2001. Ovi-larvicidal activity of spinosad in comparison to Bacillus thuringiensis subs Kurstaki for the control of Virachola livia (Klug.) on date palm trees in the field, New Valley, Egypt. Assiut Journal of Agricultural Science 32: 1–7.

Web site: