Spodoptera exigua

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Spodoptera exigua larva on cotton leaf
Author: Ronald Smith, Auburn University, U.S.A.
Source: IPM IMAGES

Spodoptera exigua (Hübner, 1808) - (beet armyworm)

The moth is a serious polyphagous pest of various crops with a world-wide distribution. E.g. it infests vegetables and cotton in North America where it was introduced from Asia in 1876. The young gregarious larvae might cause defoliation of crops and outbreaks in southern parts of North America, e.g. on cotton, have resulted in severe yield losses.

The species is a migratory noctuid and can invade crops several thousand kilometers away from its overwintering site. Flight distances of more than 100 km without rest have been recorded. The insect is common in tropical and subtropical regions. Areas with temperate climate are invaded during the summer and the pest might also infest greenhouses.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Zuckerrübeneule
• English: beet armyworm
lesser armyworm
• Español: gardama de la remolacha azucarera
gusano trozador de la remolacha
gusano soldado de la remolacha
• Français: noctuelle défoliatrice de la betterave
légionnaire de la betterave
• Italiano: nottua della barbabietola

The adult is smaller than other important Spodoptera species with a wing-span of 25-30 mm. It is brownish, the forewing contains an almost round middle spot as well as a more distal reniform spot. The larvae are variably colored (often with a lateral stripe) and larger larvae have a small black spot on each side of the 2nd segment behind the head.

The life cycle from egg, through 5 larval stages, to mature adult depends on the temperature and ranges from 2-3 weeks at 33°C to 7 weeks at 20°C (Karimi-Malati et al., 2014). Pupation takes place in the soil.

Synonyms
Laphygma exigua

For details see the respective page in BugwoodWiki.