Spodoptera littoralis

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Spodoptera littoralis mounted adult (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): O. Heikinheimo
Source: IPM Images (modified)

Spodoptera littoralis (Boisduval, 1833) - (African cotton leafworm)

The species of leafworm is a major, highly polyphagous pest in Africa, the Near East and Mediterranean countries. The larvae damage particularly the leaves of cotton, rice, and vegetables, often until defoliation. Late instar larvae might migrate to undamaged plants in search for additional food. Cotton yield may be reduced by up to 75%.

The adults are good fliers and the eggs and caterpillars can be transported with infested plants. It can been found in greenhouses in central and northern Europe and was intercepted by quarantine repeatedly in North America.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Ägyptische Baumwollraupe
Baumwolleule
• English: African cotton leafworm
Egyptian cotton leafworm
• Español: rosquilla negra
• Français: ver du cotonnier
noctuelle méditerranéenne

The development from egg, through 6 larval instars, to mature adults lasts between 1-3 months, depending on the temperature. The older larvae are nocturnal and hide in the soil during the days, where they also pupate. There are several generations per year. The adult is about 20 mm long and has a wingspan of 35-40 mm. It is gray-brown, the forewings have a pattern of lighter line. The reniform spot on the forewing (see red arrow on upper right image) has the form of a white, tilted letter "A", filled with light brown. The hind wings are whitish with a dark margin and dark veins in the apical quarter.

Synonyms:
Prodenia littoralis

For details see the respective page in BugwoodWiki.