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Polychrosis cunninhamiacola stages and damage

A multi-panel collage showing the life cycle and damage caused by the Polychrosis cunninhamiacola moth. The first panel shows a small, whitish caterpillar on a dark background. The second panel shows a larger, brown and white caterpillar. The third panel shows a brown cocoon attached to a twig. The fourth panel shows an adult moth whose wings feature gray stripes outlined in orange on a black base color. The final two panels show short limbs of a fir tree with many short, closely gathered branches.

The moth Polychrosis cunninhamiacola is a significant pest of Cunninghamia lanceolata fir trees in China. The moth damage starts when females lay their eggs on the tree’s leaves. Hatched larvae then destroy the top buds of new shoots, creating multiple shoots at lower heights and trunk bending, which hinder growth and wood quality. Shown here are a P. cunninhamiacola early-instar larva (a), late-instar larva (b), pupa (c), and adult (d) and attacked C. lanceolata branches producing multiple shoots at lower heights, indicated with arrows (e, f). (Image originally published in Qiu et al 2023, Journal of Insect Science)

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