Mystery insect larva eating plants! Suggestions for getting rid of these??? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Mystery insect larva eating plants! Suggestions for getting rid of these???

I have a mystery insect larva that has appeared in one of my planted tanks that would be fascinating were it not so destructive. It behaves very similar to some moth larva, wherein it chews off a leaf and wraps it around itself as a protective covering, then hauls the leaf-home around with it. The problem is these guys are eating my plants at an alarming rate...they seem to prefer Ludwigia's but will take new growth on the Persicaria and other large-leaved species. Fine-leafed stems such as Rotala wallichii and Myrio's are utterly ignored, as are Crypts, but they're going for my Bucephalandra's. So they've gotta go.

I'm thinking a massive dose of Panacur might solve the problem, and there are no fish in this tank, only plants and various snails. Anyone have any suggestions other than this? Will Panacur upset the plants?

No idea how these guys entered the tank, but I suspect a fly flew inside and laid eggs in the tank. I suppose they could've hitched a ride on a plant, but I haven't added anything new for a while.

Here are some low-quality pics of this pest. Max size of the 15 or so I've pulled out of the tank this morning is about half an inch.





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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 05:28 PM
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I think you could try a BT. Bacillus thuringiensis is a bacteria that attacks Leptidoptera larvae ie moth caterpillars. It might be tough to get them to ingest/eat, but multiple applications would probably work.
I had them years ago and they were really hard to get rid of! But I did have fish and shrimp in some tanks.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 05:49 PM
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The photo resolution isn't great, but they look like trichoptera and probably lepidostomatidae. Most likely hitched a ride on a plant. They eat living and dead plant matter and grow for about a year before pupating into an adult. Most aquatic insects are sensitive to metals like copper. Using something like a copper based ich treatment would probably kill them.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 06:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick responses!

Ahhhhh, copper, good point. A very large dose will be added tomorrow...thanks, Entomologist210. By the way, are you at UTPA? I have a number of biologist friends down there.

I'm going to try to get a pic of them under the microscope in the next day or two.

Cheers,

Cara
post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 06:22 PM
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As a matter of fact I am! I work in Dr. Terry's lab and I'm working on a USDA grant with Dr. Summy.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-24-2014, 06:23 PM
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Just a note on the copper based meds, it will probably kill all of your snails, too. I don't know if that would be a problem for you.
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