Cookies on Plantwise Knowledge Bank

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.

Continuing to use means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

Plantwise Knowledge Bank
  • Knowledge Bank home
  • Change location
Plantwise Technical Factsheet

cocoa tussock moth (Orgyia postica)

Host plants / species affected
Amherstia nobilis (flame amherstia)
Camellia sinensis (tea)
Coffea (coffee)
Dimocarpus longan (longan tree)
Durio zibethinus (durian)
Erythrina spp.
Garcinia mangostana (mangosteen)
Glycine max (soyabean)
Hevea brasiliensis (rubber)
Lablab purpureus (hyacinth bean)
Leucaena leucocephala (leucaena)
Litchi chinensis (lichi)
Malpighia glabra (acerola)
Mangifera indica (mango)
Nephelium lappaceum (rambutan)
Ocimum tenuiflorum (holy basil)
Orchidaceae (orchids)
Populus deltoides (poplar)
Pyrus communis (European pear)
Ricinus communis (castor bean)
Rosa (roses)
Syzygium cumini (black plum)
Theobroma cacao (cocoa)
Vigna radiata (mung bean)
Vitis vinifera (grapevine)
Ziziphus jujuba (common jujube)
List of symptoms/signs
Leaves  -  external feeding

The eggs are pillbox-shaped, pale whitish-brown, with a darker ring encircling a depressed top.


The larva is basically yellowish, sparsely clothed with brown hairs, and with one dorsal and two lateral brown bands. There are paired tufts of long, brown hair on the first thoracic and eighth abdominal segments, projecting forwards and backwards, respectively, and lateral tufts of grey hair on the first and second abdominal segments. As in O. antiqua, there are four dorsal tufts of yellow hair on the first to fourth abdominal segments. The head is red (Hampson, 1892).


The pupa is stout, glossy black in the male, with numerous small tufts of short hairs. Formed in a loose cocoon incorporating the larval hairs.


Wingspan: 21-30 mm. The head, thorax and abdomen are brown in the male. The forewings are of the same colour, with an indistinct oblique subbasal line. Crossing these are waved antemedial and postmedial lines which approach each other at the lower angle of the cell, the area between them slightly tinged with bluish-grey and with a waved dark line edged with white on each side of the discocellulars. There are also two indistinct waved submarginal lines. The wing apex is slightly tinged with grey, with some subapical dark streaks. Hind wings dark brown (Hampson, 1892). The flightless female is brownish grey, thickly haired, with rudimentary wings.

Males from Sumatra are larger, paler, and with more pointed wings than those from Java. Sulawesi males are larger still (Van Eecke, 1930).

Prevention and control
Most insecticides used to control other orchard pests will also control this species.
The larvae cause serious damage to the young leaves of cacao in the Philippines, both in nurseries and plantations. When very numerous they can cause total defoliation, killing or stunting the tree (Sanchez and Laigo, 1968).

The larvae also attack fruits, especially mango, rendering them unsuitable for sale (Fasih et al., 1989).

Zoomed image