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Spodoptera Guenée, 1852 - (armyworms)
This is an important genus of polyphagous species found mainly in warmer regions. The caterpillars are often gregarious. They feed on leaves, buds or developing maize ears and are able to cause substantial crop losses. The host plants include vegetables, cereals, grasses and ornamentals.
The adults typically have a wing span of about 3-4 cm. The forewings are brown with various lighter streaks, marks and lines. The hindwings are whitish with a brown apical border. The adults are good fliers and may migrate in certain seasons, e.g. to temperate regions in the summer. The caterpillars have a whitish sign in form of an inverted Y on the head. Pupation takes place in the soil.
The genus includes about 30 species and the economically most important ones are:
- Spodoptera exigua - with a worldwide distribution
- Spodoptera frugiperda - in America
- Spodoptera littoralis - in the Mediterranean region and Africa
- Spodoptera litura - in Asia and the Pacific.
The following is a list of all species currently entered into the system: