(formerly known as Phalaena frugiperda)
ACRONICTINAE, NOCTUIDAE, NOCTUOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of James Castner, University of Florida)
These Caterpillars are brown with pale dorsal and dorso-lateral lines, and rows of dark spots along the back and sides. The undersides are pale brown. The head is dark brown with an inverted 'V' marking.
The caterpillars are an international agricultural pest on crops and pastures, feeding on a variety of plants including
Th caterpillars also attack each other. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 4 cms. They burrow into the soil below the plant where they pupate without a cocoon.
The adult moth is brown with a complex pattern of paler marks on the forewings. The males have bolder markings than the females. The hindwings are plain pearly white with narrow dark brown edges. The moth has a wingspan of about 3 cms.
The pheromones of the species have been determined.
Attempts to control the pest include the use of:
The eggs are white, and laid in piles of about 100, and covered in hairs from the female's abdomen.
The species originated in the Americas, in
and now is found across the world in :
and has invaded Australia, being found, so far (July 2020), only in
Further reading :
Sir James Edward Smith and John Abbott,
The Natural History of the rarer lepidopterous insects of Georgia,
T. Bensley (printers), London, Volume 2, pp. 191-192, and also Plate 96.
(written 28 July 2020)