Biosecurity threat, not present in Australia

Proutista moesta

The palm derbid


Many of the insects depicted on these pages are outwardly similar and you should not use photographs as the sole means of identification. These pages form part of a scientific key which will assist a trained entomologist to identify the species accurately.

Proutista moesta (Westwood, 1851)

Common Name: Palm derbid

Subfamily/Tribe: Otiocerinae/Zoraidini

Distribution: Indonesia (W. Papua, Java, Flores, Sulawesi, Ambon, Sumatra, Siberut Island, Lombok, Sumbawa), India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Borneo, Japan, Seychelles, Guam, Singapore, Tanzania


Economic Status: Proutista moesta is a vector of Kerala wilt disease, Yellow wilt disease and spear rot disease of palm trees, particularly coconut and oil palm. The adults are phloem feeding while the nymphs are saprophagous, feeding on liquids associated with fungal rot in the soil. There are unconfirmed reports that it may also affect maize and sugarcane.


Notes: The native Australian Derbidae, even within the distinctive tribe Zoraidini, are not well studied and there are almost certainly undescribed species in the tropical areas of Australia, particularly Queensland. Proutista moesta has distinctive dark markings on the forewings and this should help detect any incursion of this species into Torres Strait from New Guinea. Van Stalle (1990) provided keys for the identification of males and females of species of Proutista in New Guinea.

Image: Werner Holzinger [used with permission]