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Species Page

large cabbage-heart caterpillar

Crocidolomia pavonana
This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC). Find out more information on how to access the CPC.
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.


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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

show all species affected
Brassica nigra (black mustard)
Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra (Chinese kale)
Brassica oleracea var. botrytis (cauliflower)
Brassica oleracea var. capitata (cabbage)
Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes (kohlrabi)
Brassica oleracea var. italica (broccoli)
Brassica rapa (field mustard)
Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis (Chinese cabbage)
Brassica rapa subsp. rapa (turnip)
Nasturtium officinale (watercress)
Raphanus sativus (radish)

List of symptoms / signs

Fruit - external feeding
Fruit - internal feeding
Growing point - external feeding
Inflorescence - external feeding
Inflorescence - internal feeding
Inflorescence - webbing
Leaves - external feeding
Leaves - internal feeding
Leaves - leaves rolled or folded
Leaves - webbing


On cabbage: skeletonization of outer leaves; larval damage to primordia or cupping stage (as evidenced by a 2 cm firm leafball) resulting in either aborted or multiple heads, and bore hole damage with frass and faecal matter in the developing head.

On cauliflower: nibbling by the larvae to the growing tip of seedlings/transplants resulting in 'blindness'; skeletonization of outer leaves after planting; discoloration of curd; larvae hidden beneath the curd; bore hole damage to pods and consumption of seeds by the larvae.

On mustard: extensive skeletonization of leaves; webbing of leaves and inflorescence; bore holes in pods, and consumption of seeds by the larvae.

On kholrabi: extensive skeletonization of leaves.

Prevention and control

Integrated Pest Management

An IPM for major pest complex on cabbage with Indian mustard (Brassica juncea) as a trap crop has been developed and demonstrated in Southern India. Mustard, a preferred host attracts almost the entire population of C. pavonana and 80% of Plutella xylostella (diamondback moth, DBM). This technology can also be successfully adopted for the management of pest complex on cauliflower (IIHR, 1992; Srinivasan and Moorthy, 1992).

Biological Control

Low level of natural control of C. pavonana in different countries and lack of suitable mass rearing methods for parasites have hampered biological control efforts. There are no reports on parasite introductions. There has been an interest in using Bacillus thuringiensis for the control of this pest (Ooi, 1980; Krishnaiah et al., 1981).

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:


C. pavonana is mostly found along with diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella, in the crucifer ecosystem. It is next to DBM in the order of economic importance. Even a single mature larva per plant is capable of causing economic loss to cabbage at pre- and post-heading stages (Peter et al., 1988).

At present C. pavonana is of great economic significance only in Central and Southern India, Indonesia and a few Pacific island countries. Percentage yield loss with unit increase in the larval population was 51, 28 and 37 for 15, 30 and 45 day old crop, respectively (Peter et al., 1988).