Trichoplusia ni

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Trichoplusia ni larva on a cabbage leaf (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Alton N. Sparks Jr., University of Georgia
Source: IPM Images

Trichoplusia ni (Hübner, 1803) - (cabbage looper)

The species has a worldwide distribution and is a serious pest of crucifers, other vegetables, cotton and many other crops. Damage can be substantial in terms of yield and quality. It is confined to the leaves, but the larvae also bore into the heads of cabbage or lettuce. It further feeds on a number of weed species like common lambsquarters or dandelion. The adults are good fliers and are sometimes found at high altitudes, far away from crops. The flight range has been estimated to be around 200 km. Trichoplusia ni can complete its development from egg to adult in 3-4 weeks and can go through 3-5 generations per year, sometimes more. Overwintering occurs in the pupal stage.

Control often involves the use of insecticides. However, natural enemies are very import in this species and can be easily killed as part of chemical control operations, triggering subsequent outbreaks. Parasitoids can cause more than 50 % mortality and the Trichoplusia ni nuclear polyhedrosis virus may account for more than 10% mortality of the larvae.

Vernacular names
• English: cabbage looper
• Español: falso gusano medidor
• Français: fausse-arpenteuse du chou
• Português: lagarta-medideira
falsa-medideira-da-couve
lagarta-mede-palmo

The adult moths have a wingspan of 3-4 cm and are greyish to brownish in colour with various darker stripes or patches. There is a distinct whitish mark in the centre of the forewings. In mounted adults it has the shape of a "U" with a white circle or dot next to it. Both marks are often connected. The hindwings have lighter coloration but the veins are dark.

Synonyms:
Autographa ni

For details see the respective page in BugwoodWiki.