Mamestra configurata

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Mamestra configurata (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: Flickr
Mamestra configurata caterpillar on hop (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): David Gent, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Mamestra configurata Walker, 1856 - (bertha armyworm)

This species is found in western North America, from western Canada to Mexico. It has a wide host range, breeding on many plants. In western Canada, populations periodically increase to outbreak levels in canola (Brassica napus or cultivars of other Brassica species). The caterpillars feed on the leaves and developing seedpods, resulting in lower seed quality and substantial yield losses. Typically, these outbreaks occur every 6-8 years and last around 4 years.

During recent outbreaks, more than $ 10 million CAD was spent each year on pesticide spraying, but this did not prevent annual yield losses of $ 10-40 million CAD. There are indications that insect diseases might be involved in the final collapse of the outbreaks (Erlandson et al., 2019).

Vernacular names
• English: bertha armyworm
• Français: lègionnaire bertha