A synthetic sex pheromone trapping survey of the leaf skeletonizer Uraba lugens Walker (Lepidoptera: Nolidae) demonstrated the unexpectedly widespread distribution of the insect across >40,000 ha of urban Auckland, New Zealand. A survey of eucalyptus trees planted in parks and other public areas showed a significant spatial correlation between trap catch and breeding populations, validating the trap survey results. Traps in trees showing damage had four-fold higher catches than traps placed in undamaged or nonhost trees, and <1% of damaged trees with traps failed to catch adult moths. Damage by larval feeding was correlated with male trap catch in the previous generation, offering good prospects for a pest management decision support system, provided that an economic threshold is developed. Catches increased by 3.4-fold in the same georeferenced trapping grid between November and December 2003 and between March and April 2004 across two generations, over the summer. A vertical transect showed that catches increased with height up to the top trap at 13 m (60% of mean tree height). Options for managing the insect will need to overcome the high rate of increase, the rate of spread, and the vertical distribution of the insect on tall eucalyptus trees.
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Vol. 98 • No. 4