Banisia myrsusalis Walker, 1859e;  Plate 7;  RTS #404


Brunei, Bkt. Bedawan. The male holotype [damaged] of Pyralis myrsusalis Walker 1859c:893 from the Dominican Republic (Santa Domingo) is in the NHM. Stat. n. to Banisia (Whalley, 1971a:59 & 1976:154, Fig'd). Syn. Striglina scallula Guenée 1877:286 from Brazil as a junior subjective syn. of B. myrsusalis cinereola Felder, Felder & Rogenhofer, 1874. Syn. Pyralis elaralis Walker, 1859e:901. The male holotype from Sri Lanka is in the NHM and the female holotype from Sarawak is in the OUMNH. Syn. n. Pagenstecher 1892:5-131. Stat. n. as ssp. of Banisia myrsusalis Walker 1859c, (Whalley, 1971:60, Fig’d.). Syn. Durdara pyraliata Moore, 1882b:177, TL Calcutta, is in the MfNB. Stat. n. and syn. n. to Banisia (Whalley, 1971:60 Fig'd). Syn. Durdara zonula Swinhoe, [1886], 1885:469 TL India (Bombay). Syn. n. of B.myrsusalis ssp. elaralis Walker, 1859e Whalley (1971:60). Lectotype designation Whalley (1976:157). Syn. Striglina radiata Pagenstecher (1892:41) TL Puerto Rico. The type is in the MfNB. As a syn. of B.myrsusalis myrsusalis (Whalley 1976:155). Syn. Siculodes cinereola (Felder, Felder & Rogenhofer, 1874: pl.134, fig. 8). See also Whalley (1971a:60) & Shaffer & Nielsen (1996).


20mm. A small dark grey-brown species, with black strigiform markings. Several subspecies are described. Ssp. myrsusalis Walker, 1859c, Cuba; Ssp cinereola Felder, Felder & Rogenhofer, 1874, pl. 134, fig. 7, Central America and N. part of S. America (Paraguay, Brazil, Venezuela, Costa Rica), N. America (Mexico, USA); Ssp. elaralis Walker, 1859e. Most parts of Africa S. of the Sahara and from India through to China and S. to Australia. Ssp. iota Chu & Wang, 1991:329. TL China. (Yunnan); Ssp. sumatrensis Whalley, 1976:157-158, Fig'd. The male type, from W. Sumatra (N. Korintji Valley), is in the NHM, genitalia slide #14446, as are the paratypes.

Distribution & Habitat

Pretty well tropical worldwide. Central America, S. & N. America, Africa (E, S, W), Madagascar, S. China, Hong Kong, Japan, Sri Lanka, India (S & W., Bengal), Thailand, Vietnam, Sumatra, W. Malaysia, Sabah, Brunei, Sarawak, Java, Bali, PNG, New Hebrides, Admiralty Is., Australia (Q, NT), Vanuatu. As a cosmopolitan tropical species it is noteworthy for the lack of variation over its range although some specimens are without fenestrae. There are no obvious morphological differences between African and Indo-Australasian specimens but Neotropical specimens show minor genitalic difference from the Old World specimens (Whalley, 1971). Its distribution is probably associated with the transportation of its Manilkara sp. (Sapotaceae) food plants which were a source of chewing gum. Lowland and hill forest and plantations; <1500m.

Life History & Pest Status

See Plate 10, Fig. 218a for a photograph of a live specimen of Banisia myrsusalis ssp. elaralis. The males have expansible hair pencils which are housed in a longitudinal slot in the hind tibiae and femurs.The caterpillar is a minor leaf roller pest that attacks the shoots, fruits and leaves of species of Sapotaceae especially Manilkara zapota, (Patel et al. 1993). It also feeds on other Sapotaceae such as Madhuca latifolia, M. longifolia, M. indica, Mimusops elengi and in the Neotropics (Brazil & Cuba) Pouteria cainito, yellow star apple. It is also reported on Terminalia tomentosa (Combretaceae) (HOSTS [Accessed Nov. 2008]). Infestations can be controlled by systemic insecticides.

Similar spp.

B.lobata is similar but the two can usually be distinguished by B. myrsusalis having two anterior and one posterior fenestrae separated by yellowish spots whereas in B. lobata there is usually only one anterior and one posterior fenestra. However the only totally reliable method of separation is by genitalic examination (RTS: 128). See notes under B. lobata above.