Editors: W.T. Wilsey, C.R. Weeden, and A.M. Shelton
(Ostrinia nubilalis) - Life Cycle
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The adult female is a creamy, yellowish-brown moth approximately 0.75
inches long. It has a stout body and a wing expanse of about 0.6 inches
in the resting stage. The outer third of the forewings is marked by
two dark serrated lines that run across the wings. The forewings of
the female are usually lighter in color than those of the male. The
hind wings of both males and females have light markings. The abdomen
of the female does not extend beyond the wings at rest. The reddish-brown
male has a long slender body and is slightly smaller than the female.
The male's abdomen usually extends beyond the closed wings at rest
and is tufted at the tips.
Eggs of the corn borer are white and laid in masses resembling fish
scales. Masses of 5 to 50 eggs can be found on the undersides of the
leaves of their food plants, especially on the lower leaves near the
midrib of young corn plants. A few days after being laid, eggs become
cream-colored and dull. Later they turn orange-tan and finally the
black head of the unhatched larva show through the transparent egg
membrane. Eggs hatch in 4-9 days, depending on temperature.
The European corn borer larva is flesh-colored, ranging from light
gray to faint pink with small round, dark brown spots on each segment.
The larva has a brown head and indistinct reddish stripes running
the length of it's body. Mature larvae are about 3/4 to 1 inch in
The reddish-brown pupa is the resting stage that is found nestled
in a chamber inside the larval borough. In corn, the pupa is located
inside the stems or ear where the full-grown larva had been feeding.
The pupa is approximately 3/4 inch long with segmentation evident
on half of the body. The pupal stage lasts approximately 2 weeks.
Damage inflicted by European corn borer on corn
Damage inflicted by European corn borer on potatoes
Damage inflicted by European corn borer on beans
Some information on this page
taken from Insects of Corn: Cornell Cooperative Extension factsheet number
102GFS794.00 authored by J. T. Andaloro, A. A. Muka, and R. W. Straub.
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Maintained by Jason D. Plate. Last updated Mar. 8th, 2007.