Helicoverpa assulta (Guenée, 1852)
Oriental Tobacco Budworm
(one synonym : Heliothis succinea Moore, 1881)
HELIOTHINAE ,   NOCTUIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


Photo: courtesy of Marcus Matthews,
Heliothine Moths of Australia: A Guide to Pest Bollworms and Related Noctuid Groups

These Caterpillars are pale green with a variable number of dark lines along the back, and a broad pale line along each side. Sometimes the caterpillar has a row of orange spots along each side of the back.


Photo: courtesy of Marcus Matthews,
Heliothine Moths of Australia: A Guide to Pest Bollworms and Related Noctuid Groups

The caterpillars are sometimes a pest, attacking various plants in the family SOLANACEAE, including :

  • Tobacco ( Nicotiana tabacum ) ,
  • Bell Papper ( Capsicum annuum ), and
  • Devil'd Trumpets ( Datura species )
  • the fruits of Cape Gooseberries ( Physalis peruviana ).


    Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, from
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art

    The adult moths have a complex subtle brown pattern on the forewings. The hindwings are yellowish orange, with a broad brown margin containing a pale mark. The wingspan is about 3 cms.


    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

    The pheromones of this species have been studied. The species can interbreed with Helicoverpa armigera to produce viable offspring.


    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

    Attempts to control the pest include:

  • the use of semiochemicals,
  • a Nucleopolyhedrovirus,
  • the egg parasites wasp Trichogramma chilonis, ( TRICHOGRAMMATIDAE ),

    The species occurs from Africa to the south Pacific, including :

  • China,
  • Hawaii,
  • India,
  • Japan,
  • New Guinea,
  • Tahiti,

    as well as in Australia in:

  • the north of Western Australia.
  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pp. Fig. 50.10, 65, 468-469.

    Achille Guenée,
    Noctuélites,
    in Boisduval & Guenée:
    Histoire Naturelle des Insectes; Spécies Général des Lépidoptères,
    Volume 9, Part 6 (1852), pp. 178-179, No. 928.

    Marcus Matthews,
    Heliothine Moths of Australia:
    A Guide to Pest Bollworms and Related Noctuid Groups,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 1999, pp. 5, 12, 115-119, 187-188, 201-202, Plates 11, 15, 20, 22, 23.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 161.


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    (updated 8 August 2012, 7 September 2017)