Palpita vitrealis

Palpita vitrealis (Rossi)

(Also known as Glyphodes unionalis Hübner.)

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Lepidoptera, Crambidae.

Common name: Jasmine moth.

Geographical distribution: Almost cosmopolitan.

Host plants: Olive and other Oleaceae, like Jasminum, Viburnum and Ligustrum. Strawberry may also be infested.

Morphology: The body of the adult is greenish with white scales, about 15 mm long. The wings are translucent with a slight sheen and a brown edge, forewings with two black spots in the middle. The larvae are very active, green-yellow, about 20 mm long.

Life cycle: The eggs (200-600/female) are usually placed on young olive leaves, flowers, fruits and branches. The hatching larvae initially stay together, later spreading out, each remaining within its own webs. Elder larvae often weave several leaves together and pupate there. The pest also attacks olive fruits, boring galleries therein. In the Middle East the moth annually raises 6-10 partially-overlapping generations, and lives for 2-3 weeks. The pest can be reared in the laboratory on an artificial diet that had been developed in Turkey.

Economic importance: The feeding of young larvae on the lower leaf side leaves the upper epidermis intact, thus appearing like window panes. Such gnawing can bring about leaf drop, damage that may extent to the petioles. Buds are also affected. Outbreaks of P. unionalis cause severe damage to olive orchards, especially to seedlings in nurseries. Jasminum, grown as an ornamental may also be affected.


Monitoring: The pest is commonly monitored in olive orchards with sex-pheromone-baited traps. The presence of black frass particles and thin silk filaments on olives indicate the presence of the moth.

Mating disruption: Pest mating in an Egyptian olive grove was disrupted with a mixture of two pheromones dispensed from polyethylene bags. During two years male captures in treated plots were reduced by about 90%, and fruit infestation by more than 70%.

Plant resistance: The Egyptian olive variety Shamy discouraged gravid moth females from ovipositing, compared with other varieties.

Chemical control: Organophosphates, recommended against olive moth, (Prays oleae (Bernard)), also control P. vitrealis.

Biological control: The parasitoids Trichogramma spp. (Trichogrammatidae) and Apanteles spp. (Braconidae), and the predators Anthocoris nemoralis (Fabricius) (Anthocoridae) and Chrysoperla carnea (Stephens) (Chrysopidae), are important enemies of the jasmine moth.


Athanassiou, G.C., Nickolas, G., Kavallieratos, B. and Mazomenos, E. 2004. Effect of trap type, trap color, trapping location, and pheromone dispenser on captures of male Palpita unionalis (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 97: 321–329.

Avidov, Z. and Rosen, D. 1961: Bionomics of the jasmine moth (Glyphodes unionalis Hiibner.) in the coastal plain of Israel. Bulletin of the Research Council of Israel (B) 10: 77-89.

Badawi, A., Awadallah, A.M. and Foda, S.M. 1976. On the biology of the olive leaf moth Palpita unionalis Hb. (Lep., Pyralidae). Zeitschrift für Angewandte Entomologie 80: 103-110.

Hegazi, E.M. (and 9 co-authors). 2007. Field efficiency of indigenous egg parasitoids (Hymenoptera, Trichogrammatidae) to control the olive moth (Prays oleae, Lepidoptera, Yponomeutidae) and the jasmine moth (Palpita nionalis, Lepidoptera, Pyralidae) in an olive plantation in Egypt. Biological Control 43: 171-187.

Hegazi, E.M. (and 7 co-authors). 2012. The population trend of Palpita unionalis in different olive varieties in Egypt. Phytoparasitica 40: 451–459.

Hegazi, E.M. (and 9 co-authors). 2007. Mating disruption of the jasmine moth Palpita unionalis (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) using a two pheromone component blend: A case study over three consecutive olive growing seasons in Egypt. Crop Protection 26: 837-844.

Kacar, G. and Rifat, M. 2011. Determination of predators and parasitoids of olive leaf moth Palpita unionalis (Hübn.) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in olive orchards in the eastern Mediterranean region of Turkey. Turkish Journal of Biologial Control 2: 39-48. (in Turkish with an English Abstract).

Kumral, N.A., Kovancı, B. and Akbudak, B. 2007. Life tables of olive leaf moth on different host plants. Journal of Biological Environmental Science 1: 105–110.

Noori, H. and Shirazi, J. 2012. A Study on some biological characteristics of olive leaf moth, Palpita unionalis Hübner (Lep: Pyralidae) in Iran. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology 14: 257-266.

Shehata, W.A., Abou-Elkhair, S.S., Stefanos, S.S., Youssef, A.A. and Nasr, F.N. 2003. Biological studies on the olive leaf moth, Palpita unionalis Hübner (Lepid., Pyralidae) and the olive moth, Prays oleae Bernard (Lepid., Yponomeutidae). Journal of Pest Science 76: 155-158.

Yılmaz, C. and Genç, H. 2013. The first attempt to rear olive leaf moth {(Palpita unionalis (Hübner)} (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) on artificial diet. Journal of Biological and Environmental Science: 7: 25-32.