Tinea pellionella (L.), commonly known as the Case-bearing Clothes Moth or Fur Moth, is of world-wide distribution and is of considerable economic importance. It has been recorded on a variety of substances, particularly those of a keratinous nature. In India, it has been found as an important pest of woollen textiles. Its life-history and habits have been systematically investigated at different levels of temperature and humidity.
The incubation period is 4 to 5, 5, 6 to 7 and 6 to 7 days at 21·5, 25, 30 and 32·5°C., respectively. Temperatures higher than 32·5°C. have been found lethal to eggs. Humidity has no effect on the incubation period. Percentage viability of eggs is greater at lower than at higher temperatures.
Both temperature and humidity have been found to influence the larval development and the number of larval instars. Irrespective of temperature, higher humidities favour shorter larval development and the shortest larval period is at 25°C. and 90 per cent. R.H.
Woollen materials impregnated with yeast are more suited for the larval development than those not so treated. Larvae do not exhibit colour preference. Woollen fabrics dyed with Cloth fast orange G 4 per cent, manufactured by “ Ciba ”, however, inhibit the growth of freshly hatched larvae.
The behaviour of the larvae to direct sunlight has been studied. The rôle of (a) diffused light alternated with darkness, (b) darkness, (c) temperature and (d) humidity on the extent of damage caused by the larvae has been investigated. Under the conditions of the experiments, the amount of damage in continuous darkness was significantly greater than in alternating light and darkness, and that at 90 per cent. R.H. significantly greater than at 30 per cent., but there was no significant difference in the amount of damage at 27·5° and 32·5°C., respectively, and 90 per cent. R.H.
The mode of pupation has been described. The pupal period has been studied and found.to occupy 18 ± 0·4, 10·3 ± 0·16 and 10·3 ± 0·33 days at 21·5, 25 and 30°C. and 90 per cent. R.H., respectively. Humidity has no effect on this period.
The effect of temperature and humidity on (a) the preoviposition, oviposition and postoviposition periods and (b) number of eggs laid by a female has been studied. The life-span of the male and female, the relationship between the weight of the female at emergence and fecundity (which was highly significant) on the one hand and length of life (which was not significant) on the other has also been investigated. Sex ratio between females and males has been found to be 2·6:1. Three to four generations in a year have been recorded at 26 ± 8·0°C. and 82 ± 10 per cent. R.H. when the larvae are fed on woollen fabrics impregnated with yeast.
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