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Fig. 9-17. Sod webworm larva and damage (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Left: larva (photo: Doug Richmond); right: sod webworm damage (photo: Fred Baxendale).


A large complex of species loosely described as sod webworms exists in America, Australia, and New Zealand. The moths lay their eggs indiscriminately over pasture and turf areas, and the larvae defoliate a wide variety of forage and turf grasses. There is little information on their pest status specifically in relation to tall fescue.

Effect of Endophyte

Infected tall fescue deterred feeding by the bluegrass webworm Parapediasia teterella (Zincken) larvae and reduced their survival (Koga et al., 1997), although activity appeared to be confined to the leaf sheaths (Kanda et al., 1994). In two field trials fewer sod webworms (Fig. 9-17) were found in E+ tall fescue than in E- plots (Murphy et al., 1993). The effect of endophyte, however, may be species specific. Richmond (2007) reported that while P. teterella clearly preferred E- over E+ tall fescue, another species, Fissicrambus mutabalis (Clemens), showed no such preference. This difference in response to endophyte led to behavioral differences between the two species that resulted in P. teterella being more exposed to attack by the nematode Steinernema carpocapsae.


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