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The adults devour the growing points and the young, tender leaves of host plants, eating from the edge inwards; only the softer tissues between the veins are eaten on older leaves. The foliage of heavily infested trees becomes soiled with characteristic pellets of excrement (Browne, 1968).
The larvae may cause lodging in cotton plants because they feed by gnawing the roots just below the soil surface (Franssen and Muller, 1938).
No measures have been reported for the control of H. squamosus.
The larvae damage seedlings of upland rice, maize, sugarcane, cotton and tobacco (Kalshoven, 1981); recently planted sugarcane cuttings are also damaged. Tobacco seedlings are attacked at the junction of the stem and roots in Besuki, Indonesia (Kalshoven, 1981). The larvae are sporadic and localized pests of various crops, particularly of maize in East Java and Madura, Indonesia.
The larvae cause cotton plants to fall by gnawing the roots just below the soil surface; adults destroy the leaves (Franssen and Muller, 1938). The larvae also attack the roots of maize and cause serious damage in some districts of Java during the early part of the rainy season (Franssen, 1936). The pest caused serious injury to maize roots on Kangean island, Indonesia (Leefmans, 1930). H. squamosus has been recorded as a pest of kapok in Java (Van der Meer Mohr, 1927) and Vietnam (Commun, 1930).
Hutacharern and Sabhasri (1985) considered H. squamosus a pest of agricultural crops and local forest trees, such as Eucalyptus camaldulensis, in Thailand.
The adults can be minor pests of the leaves of Hevea brasiliensis in Peninsular Malaysia (Rao, 1963; Anon., 1969). H. squamosus sometimes causes damage in forest nurseries and is frequently a minor pest of leguminous cover crops (Browne, 1968). It became a pest of cotton in Celebes during the 1980s (C. Hamilton, CAB International, personal communication, 1988).