Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Spodoptera frugiperda
(fall armyworm)

Rwomushana I, 2019. Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm). Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CABI. DOI:10.1079/ISC.29810.20203373913

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Datasheet

Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 25 September 2020
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Spodoptera frugiperda
  • Preferred Common Name
  • fall armyworm
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is a lepidopteran pest that feeds in large numbers on the leaves, stems and reproductive parts of more than 350 plant species, causing major damage to economically important cultivated grasses suc...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); adult. Museum set specimen. LinkS to Spodoptera ID paper: http://www.invasive.org/publications/aphis/Handout_Spodoptera_Wings_2013.pdf - http://www.invasive.org/publications/aphis/Handout_Spodoptera_genitalia.pdf
TitleMuseum specimen - adult
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); adult. Museum set specimen. LinkS to Spodoptera ID paper: http://www.invasive.org/publications/aphis/Handout_Spodoptera_Wings_2013.pdf - http://www.invasive.org/publications/aphis/Handout_Spodoptera_genitalia.pdf
Copyright©Lyle J. Buss/University of Florida/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); adult. Museum set specimen. LinkS to Spodoptera ID paper: http://www.invasive.org/publications/aphis/Handout_Spodoptera_Wings_2013.pdf - http://www.invasive.org/publications/aphis/Handout_Spodoptera_genitalia.pdf
Museum specimen - adultSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); adult. Museum set specimen. LinkS to Spodoptera ID paper: http://www.invasive.org/publications/aphis/Handout_Spodoptera_Wings_2013.pdf - http://www.invasive.org/publications/aphis/Handout_Spodoptera_genitalia.pdf©Lyle J. Buss/University of Florida/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); adult at rest, lateral view. Laboratory image. USA.
TitleAdult
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); adult at rest, lateral view. Laboratory image. USA.
Copyright©Mark Dreiling/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); adult at rest, lateral view. Laboratory image. USA.
AdultSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); adult at rest, lateral view. Laboratory image. USA.©Mark Dreiling/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); egg mass on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum).
TitleEgg mass
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); egg mass on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum).
Copyright©Ronald Smith/Auburn University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); egg mass on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum).
Egg massSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); egg mass on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum).©Ronald Smith/Auburn University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva on maize cob. The larvae, which are marked with a distinct inverted "Y" on the front of the head, feed on a wide variety of plants, and are a particular problem in fall seeded alfalfa and wheat.  Milo, sweet corn, and field corn also are important hosts. Laboratory image. USA.
TitleLarva
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva on maize cob. The larvae, which are marked with a distinct inverted "Y" on the front of the head, feed on a wide variety of plants, and are a particular problem in fall seeded alfalfa and wheat. Milo, sweet corn, and field corn also are important hosts. Laboratory image. USA.
Copyright©Phil Sloderbeck/Kansas State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva on maize cob. The larvae, which are marked with a distinct inverted "Y" on the front of the head, feed on a wide variety of plants, and are a particular problem in fall seeded alfalfa and wheat.  Milo, sweet corn, and field corn also are important hosts. Laboratory image. USA.
LarvaSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva on maize cob. The larvae, which are marked with a distinct inverted "Y" on the front of the head, feed on a wide variety of plants, and are a particular problem in fall seeded alfalfa and wheat. Milo, sweet corn, and field corn also are important hosts. Laboratory image. USA.©Phil Sloderbeck/Kansas State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval damage in whorl of maize (Zea mays).
TitleLarval damage
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval damage in whorl of maize (Zea mays).
Copyright©University of Georgia/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval damage in whorl of maize (Zea mays).
Larval damageSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval damage in whorl of maize (Zea mays).©University of Georgia/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval damage on maize (Zea mays).
TitleLarval damage
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval damage on maize (Zea mays).
Copyright©University of Georgia/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval damage on maize (Zea mays).
Larval damageSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval damage on maize (Zea mays).©University of Georgia/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva on bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon).
TitleLarva
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva on bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon).
Copyright©Clemson University/USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva on bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon).
LarvaSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva on bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon).©Clemson University/USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larvae on hay grass. USA. August 2006.
TitleLarva
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larvae on hay grass. USA. August 2006.
Copyright©Chazz Hesselein/Alabama Cooperative Extension System/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larvae on hay grass. USA. August 2006.
LarvaSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larvae on hay grass. USA. August 2006.©Chazz Hesselein/Alabama Cooperative Extension System/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum).
TitleLarva
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum).
Copyright©Alton N. Sparks, Jr./University of Georgia/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum).
LarvaSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum).©Alton N. Sparks, Jr./University of Georgia/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva, on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). USA.
TitleLarva
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva, on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). USA.
Copyright©Russ Ottens/University of Georgia/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva, on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). USA.
LarvaSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva, on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). USA.©Russ Ottens/University of Georgia/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva, on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). USA.
TitleLarva
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva, on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). USA.
Copyright©Russ Ottens/University of Georgia/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva, on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). USA.
LarvaSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva, on cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). USA.©Russ Ottens/University of Georgia/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); early instar larvae (arrowed), and damage on cotton boll bract  (Gossypium hirsutum).
TitleLarvae
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); early instar larvae (arrowed), and damage on cotton boll bract (Gossypium hirsutum).
Copyright©Ronald Smith/Auburn University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); early instar larvae (arrowed), and damage on cotton boll bract  (Gossypium hirsutum).
LarvaeSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); early instar larvae (arrowed), and damage on cotton boll bract (Gossypium hirsutum).©Ronald Smith/Auburn University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); severe larval damage on cotton boll (Gossypium hirsutum).
TitleLarval damage
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); severe larval damage on cotton boll (Gossypium hirsutum).
Copyright©Ronald Smith/Auburn University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); severe larval damage on cotton boll (Gossypium hirsutum).
Larval damageSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); severe larval damage on cotton boll (Gossypium hirsutum).©Ronald Smith/Auburn University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval damage on sorghum (Sorghum bicolor).
TitleLarval damage
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval damage on sorghum (Sorghum bicolor).
Copyright©Clemson University/USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval damage on sorghum (Sorghum bicolor).
Larval damageSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval damage on sorghum (Sorghum bicolor).©Clemson University/USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva feeding on rice (Oryza sativa).
TitleLarva
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva feeding on rice (Oryza sativa).
Copyright©Natalie Hummel/Louisiana State University AgCenter/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva feeding on rice (Oryza sativa).
LarvaSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larva feeding on rice (Oryza sativa).©Natalie Hummel/Louisiana State University AgCenter/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval cannibalism. Honduras.
TitleLarval cannibalism
CaptionSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval cannibalism. Honduras.
Copyright©Frank Peairs/Colorado State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval cannibalism. Honduras.
Larval cannibalismSpodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); larval cannibalism. Honduras.©Frank Peairs/Colorado State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Spodoptera frugiperda J.E. Smith

Preferred Common Name

  • fall armyworm

Other Scientific Names

  • Caradrina frugiperda
  • Laphygma frugiperda Guenee, 1852
  • Laphygma inepta Walker, 1856
  • Laphygma macra Guenee, 1852
  • Noctua frugiperda J.E. Smith
  • Phalaena frugiperda Smith & Abbot, 1797
  • Prodenia autumnalis Riley, 1870
  • Prodenia plagiata Walker, 1856
  • Prodenia signifera Walker, 1856
  • Trigonophora frugiperda Geyer, 1832

International Common Names

  • English: alfalfa worm; armyworm, fall; buckworm; budworm; corn budworm; corn leafworm; cotton leaf worm; daggy's corn worm; grass caterpillar; grass worm; maize budworm; overflow worm; rice caterpillar; southern armyworm; southern grassworm; wheat cutworm; whorlworm
  • Spanish: cogollero del maíz; grillo cogollero; gusano cogollero; gusano cogollero del maíz; gusano de la hierba; oruga del cogollo del maíz; oruga militar; oruga militar del maíz; oruga negra; oruga peladora de los pastos; palomilla del maíz
  • French: légionnaire d'automne

Local Common Names

  • Argentina: isoca militar tardia
  • Brazil: curuquere dos capinzais; curuquere dos milharais; lagarta do cartucho do milho; lagarta militar
  • Germany: Heerwurm
  • Mexico: gusano cogollero del maiz

English acronym

  • FAW

EPPO code

  • LAPHFR (Spodoptera frugiperda)

Summary of Invasiveness

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The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is a lepidopteran pest that feeds in large numbers on the leaves, stems and reproductive parts of more than 350 plant species, causing major damage to economically important cultivated grasses such as maize, rice, sorghum, sugarcane and wheat but also other vegetable crops and cotton. Native to the Americas, it has been repeatedly intercepted at quarantine in Europe and was first reported from Africa in 2016 where it caused significant damage to maize crops. In 2018, S. frugiperda was first reported from the Indian subcontinent (Ganiger et al., 2018; Sharanabasappa Kalleshwaraswamy et al., 2018). It has since invaded Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, China and Sri Lanka (IPPC, 2018b, 2019; FAO, 2019c). The ideal climatic conditions for fall armyworm present in many parts of Africa and Asia, and the abundance of suitable host plants suggests the pest can produce several generations in a single season, and is likely to lead to the pest becoming endemic.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Lepidoptera
  •                         Family: Noctuidae
  •                             Genus: Spodoptera
  •                                 Species: Spodoptera frugiperda

Description

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Egg

The eggs are 0.4 mm in diameter and 0.3 mm in height; they are pale yellow or creamish at the time of oviposition and become light brown prior to eclosion. Egg maturity takes 2-3 days (20-30°C). Eggs are usually laid in masses of approximately 150-200 eggs which are laid in two to four layers deep on the surface of the leaf. The egg mass is usually covered with a protective, felt-like layer of grey-pink scales (setae) from the female abdomen. Up to 1000 eggs may be laid by each female. Eggs masses may be laid on the underside of the leaves, or on top of the leaves. In a few cases, particularly on very young crops, eggs may be laid on the stem.

Larva

Larvae are a light green to dark brown with longitudinal stripes. In the sixth instar, larvae can reach 4.5 cm long. Larvae have eight prolegs and a pair of prolegs on the last adbominal segment. On hatching they are green with black lines and spots, and as they grow they either remain green or become buff-brown and have black dorsal and spiracular lines. If crowded (by a high population density and food shortage) the final instar can be almost black in its armyworm phase. Large larvae are characterized by an inverted Y-shape in yellow on the head, black dorsal pinaculae with long primary setae (two each side of each segment within the pale dorsal zone) and four black spots arranged in a square on the last abdominal segment. There are usually six larval instars, occasionally five. A full description of the larvae is given in Crumb (1956). Levy and Habeck (1976) give diagnostic features, and colour plates are provided by King and Saunders (1984) and CIMMYT (2018).

Pupa

Pupae are shorter than mature larvae (1.3-1.5 cm in males and 1.6-1.7 cm in females in Mexico), and are shiny brown. Pupation normally occurs in the soil, but could also occur in reproductive parts such as mature maize ears. If the soil is too hard, larvae may web together leaf debris and other material to form a cocoon on the soil surface. Duration of the pupal stage is about 8 to 9 days during the summer, but reaches 20 to 30 days during cooler weather.

Adult Male

Male body length is 1.6 cm and wingspan 3.7 cm. The forewing is mottled (light brown, grey, straw) with a discal cell containing straw colour on three quarters of the area and dark brown on one quarter of the area with triangular white spots at the tip and near the centre of the wing.

Adult Female

Female body length is 1.7 cm and wingspan 3.8 cm. The forewings of females are less distinctly marked, ranging from a uniform greyish brown to a fine mottling of grey and brown. Hindwings are straw colour with a dark-brown margin. Adults are nocturnal, and are most active during warm, humid evenings. After a preoviposition period of 3 to 4 days, the female moth normally deposits most of her eggs during the first 4 to 5 days of life, but some oviposition occurs for up to 3 weeks. Duration of adult life is estimated to average about 10 days, with a range of about 7 to 21 days (Luginbill, 1928; Sparks, 1979).

Distribution

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S. frugiperda is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. The moth lives year-round from as far south as Argentina, to as far north as southern Florida and Texas (Nagoshi et al., 2012; Early et al., 2018). In 2016 it was reported for the first time from the African continent, in Nigeria, Sao Tomé, Benin and Togo (Goergen et al., 2016; IPPC, 2016). It has now been confirmed in more than 30 African countries (FAO, 2018). For further information on S. frugiperda in Africa, see CABI's Fall armyworm portal.

In 2018, S. frugiperda was reported from the Indian subcontinent (Ganiger et al., 2018IITA, 2018; Sharanabasappa Kalleshwaraswamy et al., 2018), in Karnataka (ICAR-NBAIR, 2018a) and Andhra Pradesh (EPPO, 2018). The pest has also been reported in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and West Bengal (ICAR-NBAIR, 2018b; EPPO, 2019). A live tracking tool for fall armyworm in India has been developed by PEAT, CABI and ICRISAT: https://plantix.net/en/live/fall-armyworm. S. frugiperda has also been reported in Myanmar (IPPC, 2019a), Sri Lanka (FAO, 2019a), China (FAO, 2019b; FAO, 2019e), Bangladesh (FAO, 2019c), Thailand (IPPC, 2018b) and Korea Republic (IPPC, 2019b). There are preliminary reports of fall armyworm in Japan (IPPC, 2019d) and the Philippines (IPPC, 2019i). There is a preliminary report of S. frugiperda on the islands of Saibai and Erub in Torres Strait (IPPC, 2020).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 12 May 2021
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AngolaPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
BeninPresentIntroduced2016Invasive
BotswanaPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
Burkina FasoPresent, WidespreadIntroduced2017Invasive
BurundiPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
Cabo VerdePresentIntroduced2017Invasive
CameroonPresent, LocalizedIntroduced2017Invasive
Central African RepublicPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
ChadPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentIntroduced2017Invasive
Congo, Republic of thePresentIntroduced2017InvasiveDetected awaiting official reporting
Côte d'IvoirePresent
EgyptPresent, Localized
Equatorial GuineaAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)
EritreaPresent
EswatiniPresent, LocalizedIntroduced2017Invasive
EthiopiaPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
GabonPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasive
GambiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
GhanaPresent, WidespreadIntroduced2017Invasive
GuineaPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
Guinea-BissauPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
KenyaPresentIntroduced2017InvasiveOriginal citation: Republic and of Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries (2017)
LiberiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
MadagascarPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
MalawiPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
MaliPresentIntroducedInvasive
MauritaniaPresent, Localized
MayottePresent, Localized
MozambiquePresentIntroduced2017Invasive
NamibiaPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
NigerPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
NigeriaPresentIntroduced2016InvasiveFirst reported in Jan. 2016 in the southwest, within a few months, also in northern Nigeria, Edo and additional southwest areas
RéunionPresent, Localized
RwandaPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
São Tomé and PríncipePresent, WidespreadIntroduced2016Invasive
SenegalPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
SeychellesPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
Sierra LeonePresentIntroduced2017Invasive
SomaliaPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
South AfricaPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
South SudanPresent
SudanPresentIntroduced2017InvasiveSouth Sudan
TanzaniaPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
TogoPresentIntroduced2016InvasiveKara and Plateau regions
UgandaPresentIntroduced2017Invasive
ZambiaPresentIntroduced2017InvasivePreliminary report. CABI barcoded specimens.
ZimbabwePresentIntroduced2017InvasiveOriginal citation: FAO (2017)

Asia

BangladeshPresent
ChinaPresent
-ChongqingPresent
-FujianPresent
-GuangdongPresent
-GuangxiPresent
-GuizhouPresent
-HainanPresent
-HenanPresent
-HubeiPresent
-HunanPresent
-JiangxiPresent
-SichuanPresent
-YunnanPresent
-ZhejiangPresent
IndiaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced
-Andhra PradeshPresent, LocalizedIntroduced2018
-BiharPresent
-ChhattisgarhPresent
-GoaPresent
-GujaratPresent
-Himachal PradeshPresent
-KarnatakaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced2018
-KeralaPresent
-Madhya PradeshPresentIntroduced
-MaharashtraPresentIntroduced2018
-OdishaPresent
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroduced2018
-TelanganaPresent
-West BengalPresent
IndonesiaPresent, LocalizedSumatra, Java, Kalimantan
-JavaPresent, Localized
-SumatraPresent, Localized
IsraelPresent
JapanPresent, Transient under eradicationPreliminary report. Minamikyushu-City, Kagoshima-Prefecture
-KyushuPresent, Transient under eradication
JordanPresent, Localized2020Jordan valley
LaosPresent
MalaysiaPresentPresent: under eradication; Original citation: IPPC (2019j)
MyanmarPresentPresent: subject to official control
NepalPresent
PakistanPresentIntroduced2019
PhilippinesPresent, Few occurrencesPreliminary report; Original citation: IPPC (2019i)
South KoreaPresent, Transient under eradication
Sri LankaPresentIntroduced
SyriaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced2020
ThailandPresentIntroduced2018Present: subject to official control.
United Arab EmiratesPresentPreliminary status report is Present: under eradication.
VietnamPresent
YemenPresent

Europe

GermanyAbsent, Eradicated
LithuaniaAbsent, Confirmed absent by survey
NetherlandsAbsent, Confirmed absent by surveyBased on long-term annual surveys, 362 survey observations in 2012.
SloveniaAbsent

North America

AnguillaPresent
Antigua and BarbudaPresent
BahamasPresent
BarbadosPresent
BelizePresent
BermudaPresent
British Virgin IslandsPresent
CanadaPresent, Localized
-ManitobaPresent
-New BrunswickPresent
-Nova ScotiaPresent
-OntarioPresent
-Prince Edward IslandPresent
-QuebecPresent
Cayman IslandsPresent
Costa RicaPresent
CubaPresent
DominicaPresent
Dominican RepublicPresent
El SalvadorPresent
GrenadaPresent
GuadeloupePresent
GuatemalaPresent
HaitiPresent, Few occurrences
HondurasPresent
JamaicaPresent
MartiniquePresent, Widespread
MexicoPresent, Widespread
MontserratPresent
NicaraguaPresent
PanamaPresent
Puerto RicoPresent
Saint Kitts and NevisPresent
Saint LuciaPresent
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresent
Trinidad and TobagoPresent
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresent
United StatesPresent
-AlabamaPresent
-ArizonaPresent
-ArkansasPresent
-CaliforniaPresent
-ColoradoPresent
-ConnecticutPresent
-DelawarePresent
-FloridaPresent
-GeorgiaPresent
-IllinoisPresent
-IndianaPresent
-IowaPresent
-KansasPresent
-KentuckyPresent
-LouisianaPresent
-MainePresent
-MarylandPresent
-MassachusettsPresent
-MichiganPresent
-MinnesotaPresent
-MississippiPresent
-MissouriPresent
-MontanaPresent
-NebraskaPresent
-New HampshirePresent
-New JerseyPresent
-New MexicoPresent
-New YorkPresent
-North CarolinaPresent
-North DakotaPresent
-OhioPresent
-OklahomaPresent
-PennsylvaniaPresent
-Rhode IslandPresent
-South CarolinaPresent
-South DakotaPresent
-TennesseePresent
-TexasPresent
-VirginiaPresent
-West VirginiaPresent
-WisconsinPresent
-WyomingPresent

Oceania

AustraliaPresent, WidespreadIntroduced2020
-New South WalesPresentIntroduced2020
-Northern TerritoryPresentIntroduced2020
-QueenslandPresentIntroduced2020
-TasmaniaPresentIntroduced2021
-VictoriaPresentIntroduced2020
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroduced2020
New CaledoniaPresent, Localized2020
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroduced2021
Papua New GuineaPresent, LocalizedJiwaka, Madang, Morobe, Western, Western highlands provinces
Timor-LestePresent

South America

ArgentinaPresent
BoliviaPresent
BrazilPresent
-AmapaPresent
-AmazonasPresent
-BahiaPresent
-CearaPresent
-Espirito SantoPresent
-GoiasPresent
-MaranhaoPresent
-Mato GrossoPresent
-Mato Grosso do SulPresent
-Minas GeraisPresent
-ParaPresent
-ParaibaPresent
-ParanaPresent
-PernambucoPresent
-PiauiPresent
-Rio de JaneiroPresent
-Rio Grande do NortePresent
-Rio Grande do SulPresent
-RoraimaPresent
-Santa CatarinaPresent
-Sao PauloPresent
-TocantinsPresent
ChilePresent, Localized
ColombiaPresent
EcuadorPresent, Widespread
French GuianaPresent
GuyanaPresent
ParaguayPresent
PeruPresent
SurinamePresent
UruguayPresent, Widespread
VenezuelaPresentWestern

Risk of Introduction

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S. frugiperda is on the EPPO A1 list of quarantine pests and is intercepted occasionally in Europe on imported plant material (Seymour et al., 1985). From Africa alone, in 2017, two consignments containing fall armyworm were intercepted in Europe, and 17 interceptions were made in the first 8 months of 2018 from wide-ranging crops including Capsicum, Coriandrum, Eryngium, Eustoma, Pisum, Rosa, Solanum and Zea mays (EUROPHYT).

Phytosanitary Measures

Plants for planting should come from a place of production inspected and found free from the pest during the previous months. Directive 2000/29/EC listed FAW as a harmful organism whose introduction into and spread within all EU member states was banned, it not being present in any member state. Jeger et al. (2017) conducted a pest categorisation of fall armyworm, and concluded that it could be regarded as a 'Union quarantine pest'.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedProtected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedManaged grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedIndustrial / intensive livestock production systems Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedRail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalRiverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalWetlands Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalScrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalArid regions Present, no further details Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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S. frugiperda is a polyphagous pest which shows a definite preference for the Poaceae (Casmuz et al., 2010). It is most commonly recorded from wild and cultivated grasses; from maize, rice, sorghum and sugarcane. However, Montezano et al. (2018) have recently reported 353 host plant species based on a thorough literature review, and additional surveys in Brazil, from 76 plant families, principally Poaceae (106), Asteraceae (31) and Fabaceae (31).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContextReferences
Abelmoschus esculentus (okra)MalvaceaeOther
    Acalypha (Copperleaf)EuphorbiaceaeOther
      Agrostis (bentgrasses)PoaceaeWild host
        Agrostis gigantea (black bent)PoaceaeOther
          Agrostis stolonifera (creeping bentgrass)PoaceaeOther
            Alcea rosea (Hollyhock)MalvaceaeOther
              AlliumLiliaceaeMain
                Allium cepa (onion)LiliaceaeOther
                  Allium sativum (garlic)LiliaceaeOther
                    Amaranthus (amaranth)AmaranthaceaeOther
                      Amaranthus quitensisAmaranthaceaeOther
                        Amaranthus spinosus (spiny amaranth)AmaranthaceaeOther
                          Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge)PoaceaeWild host
                            Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)FabaceaeMain
                              Asclepias (Silkweed)AsclepiadaceaeOther
                                Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)LiliaceaeOther
                                  Asplenium nidus (bird's nest fern)AspleniaceaeOther
                                    Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade)SolanaceaeWild host
                                      Avena sativa (oats)PoaceaeOther
                                        Avena strigosa (black oat)PoaceaeOther
                                          BetaChenopodiaceaeOther
                                            Beta vulgaris (beetroot)ChenopodiaceaeOther
                                              Beta vulgaris var. ciclaChenopodiaceaeOther
                                                Beta vulgaris var. saccharifera (sugarbeet)ChenopodiaceaeMain
                                                  Brassica napus var. napus (rape)BrassicaceaeOther
                                                    Brassica oleracea (cabbages, cauliflowers)BrassicaceaeMain
                                                      Brassica oleracea var. botrytis (cauliflower)BrassicaceaeOther
                                                        Brassica oleracea var. capitata (cabbage)BrassicaceaeOther
                                                          Brassica oleracea var. viridis (collards)BrassicaceaeOther
                                                            Brassica rapa (field mustard)BrassicaceaeOther
                                                              Brassica rapa subsp. oleifera (turnip rape)BrassicaceaeOther
                                                                Brassica rapa subsp. rapa (turnip)BrassicaceaeMain
                                                                  Brassicaceae (cruciferous crops)BrassicaceaeMain
                                                                    Cajanus cajan (pigeon pea)FabaceaeOther
                                                                      Capsicum (peppers)SolanaceaeOther
                                                                        Capsicum annuum (bell pepper)SolanaceaeMain
                                                                          Capsicum frutescens (chilli)SolanaceaeOther
                                                                            Carduus (thistle)AsteraceaeOther
                                                                              Carex (sedges)CyperaceaeWild host
                                                                                Carica papaya (pawpaw)CaricaceaeOther
                                                                                  Carya (hickories)JuglandaceaeOther
                                                                                    Carya illinoinensis (pecan)JuglandaceaeOther
                                                                                      Cenchrus incertus (Spiny burrgrass)PoaceaeWild host
                                                                                        Chenopodium album (fat hen)ChenopodiaceaeWild host
                                                                                          Chenopodium quinoa (quinoa)ChenopodiaceaeOther
                                                                                            Chloris gayana (Rhodes grass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                              Chrysanthemum (daisy)AsteraceaeOther
                                                                                                Chrysanthemum morifolium (chrysanthemum (florists'))AsteraceaeMain
                                                                                                  Cicer arietinum (chickpea)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                    Cichorium intybus (chicory)AsteraceaeOther
                                                                                                      Citrullus lanatus (watermelon)CucurbitaceaeOther
                                                                                                        Citrus aurantium (sour orange)RutaceaeOther
                                                                                                          Citrus limon (lemon)RutaceaeOther
                                                                                                            Citrus reticulata (mandarin)RutaceaeOther
                                                                                                              Citrus sinensis (navel orange)RutaceaeOther
                                                                                                                Codiaeum variegatum (garden croton)EuphorbiaceaeOther
                                                                                                                  Coffea arabica (arabica coffee)RubiaceaeOther
                                                                                                                    Convolvulus (morning glory)ConvolvulaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                      Convolvulus arvensis (bindweed)ConvolvulaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                        Cucumis melo (melon)CucurbitaceaeOther
                                                                                                                          Cucumis sativus (cucumber)CucurbitaceaeMain
                                                                                                                            Cucurbita argyrosperma (silver-seed gourd)CucurbitaceaeOther
                                                                                                                              Cucurbita maxima (giant pumpkin)CucurbitaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                Cucurbitaceae (cucurbits)CucurbitaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                  Cydonia oblonga (quince)RosaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                    Cynara cardunculus (cardoon)AsteraceaeOther
                                                                                                                                      Cynodon dactylon (Bermuda grass)PoaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                        Cyperus rotundus (purple nutsedge)CyperaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                          Dactyloctenium aegyptium (crowfoot grass)PoaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                            Dahlia pinnata (garden dahlia)AsteraceaeOther
                                                                                                                                              Dianthus caryophyllus (carnation)CaryophyllaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                Digitaria (crabgrass)PoaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                  Digitaria sanguinalis (large crabgrass)PoaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                    Echinochloa colona (junglerice)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                      Echinochloa crus-galli (barnyard grass)PoaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                        Eleusine indica (goose grass)PoaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                          Elymus repens (quackgrass)PoaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                            Eremochloa ophiuroides (centipedegrass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                              Eriochloa punctataPoaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                                Eryngium foetidumApiaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                  EucalyptusMyrtaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                    Eucalyptus camaldulensis (red gum)MyrtaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                      Eucalyptus urophylla (Timor mountain gum)MyrtaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                        Fagopyrum esculentum (buckwheat)Other
                                                                                                                                                                          Festuca arundinacea (tall fescue)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                            FicusMoraceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                              Fragaria ananassa (strawberry)RosaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                Fragaria chiloensis (Chilean strawberry)RosaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                  Fragaria vesca (wild strawberry)RosaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                    Gladiolus (sword lily)IridaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                      Gladiolus hybrids (sword lily)IridaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                        Glycine max (soyabean)FabaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                          Gossypium (cotton)MalvaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                            Gossypium herbaceum (short staple cotton)MalvaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                              Gossypium hirsutum (Bourbon cotton)MalvaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                Helianthus annuus (sunflower)AsteraceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hevea brasiliensis (rubber)EuphorbiaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hibiscus cannabinus (kenaf)MalvaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hordeum vulgare (barley)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ipomoea (morning glory)ConvolvulaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato)ConvolvulaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ipomoea purpurea (tall morning glory)ConvolvulaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lactuca sativa (lettuce)AsteraceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Lespedeza bicolor (bicolor lespedeza)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Linum usitatissimum (flax)Other
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lolium multiflorum (Italian ryegrass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Malpighia glabra (acerola)MalpighiaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Malus domestica (apple)RosaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mangifera indica (mango)AnacardiaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Maranta (arrowroot)MarantaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Medicago sativa (lucerne)FabaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Megathyrsus maximus (Guinea grass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Melilotus albus (honey clover)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Miscanthus × giganteusPoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mucuna pruriens (velvet bean)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mucuna pruriens (velvet bean)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Musa (banana)MusaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Musa x paradisiaca (plantain)MusaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco)SolanaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oryza sativa (rice)PoaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Panicum (millets)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Panicum miliaceum (millet)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Panicum virgatumPoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        PaspalumPoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Paspalum dilatatum (dallisgrass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Paspalum distichum (knotgrass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Paspalum fimbriatumPoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Paspalum notatum (Bahia grass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Paspalum urvillei (Vasey grass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Passiflora (passionflower)PassifloraceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Passiflora laurifoliaPassifloraceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pelargonium (pelargoniums)GeraniaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pennisetum clandestinum (Kikuyu grass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pennisetum glaucum (pearl millet)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Phalaris canariensis (Canarygrass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Phaseolus (beans)FabaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Phaseolus lunatus (lima bean)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean)FabaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Phleum pratense (timothy grass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pinus (pines)PinaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pinus caribaea (Caribbean pine)PinaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Piper (pepper)PiperaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pisum sativum (pea)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Platanus occidentalis (sycamore)PlatanaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Plumeria (frangipani)ApocynaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Plumeria rubra (red frangipani)ApocynaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Poa annua (annual meadowgrass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Poa pratensis (smooth meadow-grass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Poaceae (grasses)PoaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Portulaca oleracea (purslane)PortulacaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Prunus persica (peach)RosaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Psidium guajava (guava)MyrtaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pueraria montana var. lobata (kudzu)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pyrus communis (European pear)RosaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Raphanus sativus (radish)BrassicaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ricinus communis (castor bean)EuphorbiaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rosa (roses)RosaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)PoaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Schlumbergera truncata (christmas cactus)CactaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Secale cereale (rye)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sesamum indicum (sesame)PedaliaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Setaria italica (foxtail millet)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Setaria parviflora (knotroot foxtail)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Setaria viridis (green foxtail)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Solanum (nightshade)SolanaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)SolanaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Solanum melongena (aubergine)SolanaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Solanum tuberosum (potato)SolanaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  SorghumPoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sorghum bicolor (sorghum)PoaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sorghum caffrorumPoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorghum halepense (Johnson grass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sorghum sudanense (Sudan grass)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Spinacia oleracea (spinach)ChenopodiaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tanacetum cinerariifolium (Pyrethrum)Other
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Taraxacum officinale complex (dandelion)AsteraceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond)CombretaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Trifolium (clovers)FabaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Trifolium incarnatum (Crimson clover)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Trifolium pratense (red clover)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Trifolium repens (white clover)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Triticum (wheat)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Triticum aestivum (wheat)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                turfgrassesOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  UrochloaPoaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Urochloa decumbens (signal grass)PoaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Urochloa mutica (para grass)PoaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Urochloa ramosa (browntop millet)PoaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Urochloa texanaPoaceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Vaccinium (blueberries)EricaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Vaccinium corymbosum (blueberry)EricaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Vicia faba (faba bean)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Vigna unguiculata (cowpea)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculataFabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Viola (violet)ViolaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Vitis (grape)VitaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Vitis vinifera (grapevine)VitaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wisteria sinensis (Chinese wisteria)FabaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Xanthium strumarium (common cocklebur)AsteraceaeWild host
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Zea mays (maize)PoaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Zea mays subsp. mays (sweetcorn)PoaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Zea mays subsp. mexicana (teosinte)PoaceaeOther
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Zingiber officinale (ginger)ZingiberaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ZoysiaPoaceaeOther

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Growth Stages

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Top of page
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Symptoms

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Seedlings are fed upon within the whorl. Larger larvae can cut the base of the plant. Mature plants suffer attack on reproductive structures. On tomato plants, buds and growing points may be eaten and fruits pierced. Maize leaves are eaten and the whorl (funnel) may be a mass of holes, ragged edges and larval frass. Young larvae skeletonize the leaf lamina in a typical 'window-pane' damage. 'Window-paning' is the most common damage symptom at early whorl; however, this is sometimes indistinguishable from damage that is due to other stem borers. Usually many young larvae will be present on the same plant, but normally one or two older larvae may be found on a single plant, as others will migrate and feed on neighbouring plants. Later larval instars make larger holes, causing ragged whorl leaves, and produce sawdust-like larval droppings, while fresh feeding produces big lumps. Badly infested fields may look as if they have been hit by a severe hailstorm. Fall armyworm can also destroy silks and developing tassels, thereby limiting fertilization of the ear. Maize plants may have the cobs attacked by larvae boring through the kernels. Damage to cobs may lead to fungal infection and aflatoxins, and loss of grain quality. At high densities, large larvae may act as armyworms and disperse in swarms, but they often remain in the locality on wild grasses, if available.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          List of Symptoms/Signs

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          SignLife StagesType
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fruit / external feeding
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fruit / internal feeding
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Growing point / external feeding
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Growing point / internal feeding; boring
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Inflorescence / external feeding
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Leaves / external feeding
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Stems / external feeding
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Whole plant / cut at stem base

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Biology and Ecology

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Eggs are laid at night on the leaves of the host, stuck to the lower surface of the lower part of the lower leaves, in tight clusters of 100-300 and sometimes in two layers, usually covered with a protective layer of abdominal bristles. When moth populations are high, the eggs may be laid higher up the plants, on top of the leaves or on nearby vegetation. Some reports suggest that heavy rains are important in breaking the life-cycle of fall armyworm, by washing off the eggs from the leaves onto the ground where they may be predated upon or if they hatched, they are unlikely to move on the soil to a nearby a food source. Hatching requires 2-10 days (usually 3-5). The mortality rate following emergence may be high in some cases due to climatic factors and attack by predators, parasitoids and pathogens. The young larvae migrate to the whorl; the first two instars feed gregariously on the underside or the top of the young leaves causing a characteristic skeletonizing or 'windowing' effect. In the second and third instar stages, larvae are often cannibalistic and thus one or two larvae per whorl is usual. The rate of larval development through the six instars is controlled by a combination of diet and temperature conditions, and usually takes 14-21 days. Larger larvae are nocturnal unless they enter the armyworm phase when they swarm and disperse, seeking other food sources. Pupation takes place inside a loose cocoon in an earthen cell but has also been observed in the kernels of the maize cob, or rarely between leaves on the host plant, and 9-13 days are required for development. Adults emerge at night, and they typically use their natural pre-oviposition period of 3-4 days to fly for many kilometres before they settle to oviposit, sometimes migrating for long distances. In the migratory habit, moths can migrate over 500 km (300 miles) before oviposition. The female normally deposits most of her eggs during the first 4-5 days of life, but some oviposition continues to occur for up to 3 weeks. On average, adults live for 12-14 days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A threshold temperature of 10.9°C and 559 day-degrees C is required for development. Sandy-clay or clay-sand soils are suitable for pupation and adult emergence. Emergence in sandy-clay and clay-sand soils was directly proportional to temperature and inversely proportional to humidity. Above 30°C the wings of adults tend to be deformed. Pupae require a threshold temperature of 14.6°C and 138 day-degrees C to complete their development (Ramirez-Garcia et al., 1987).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          S. frugiperda is a tropical species adapted to the warmer parts of the New World; the optimum temperature for larval development is reported to be 28°C, but it is lower for both oviposition and pupation. In the tropics, breeding can be continuous with four to six generations per year, but in northern regions only one or two generations develop; at lower temperatures, activity and development cease, and when freezing occurs all stages are usually killed. In the USA, S. frugiperda usually overwinters only in southern Texas and Florida. In mild winters, pupae survive in more northerly locations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Genetic differentiation of fall armyworm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fall armyworm occurs in two races: a ‘rice strain’ (R strain) and a ‘corn strain’ (C strain) (Lu and Adang, 1996; Lewter et al., 2006; Nagoshi et al., 2007); the former is thought to preferentially feed on rice and various pasture grasses and the latter on maize, cotton and sorghum. The strains are morphologically identical, but can be distinguished by molecular techniques. Recent evidence shows that the diversity of fall armyworm that invaded Africa is greater than previously thought, including a haplotype that has not yet been observed in the Western Hemisphere (Nagoshi et al., 2018). Analyses of South African specimens indicate corn and rice strains are both present (Jacobs et al., 2018). In Uganda, fall armyworm populations were found to consist of two sympatric sister species of maize-preferred and rice-preferred strains (Otim et al., 2018). There have been some attempts to establish the origin of these strains, and evidence from Ghana (Cock et al., 2017) and Togo (Nagoshi et al., 2018) suggests that the populations are most similar to that found in the Caribbean region and the eastern coast of the USA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Climate

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          B - Dry (arid and semi-arid) Preferred < 860mm precipitation annually
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          BW - Desert climate Preferred < 430mm annual precipitation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          54 35

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Air Temperature

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 8.2
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mean annual temperature (ºC) 17 35
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 30 35
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 7 17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rainfall

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dry season duration37number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mean annual rainfall0400mm; lower/upper limits

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Natural enemies

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Agelaius phoeniceus Predator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Alabagrus stigma Parasite Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Aleiodes laphygmae Parasite Larvae Honduras
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Alveoplectrus corumbae Parasite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Archytas apicifer Parasite Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Archytas incertus Parasite Larvae Brazil; Sao Paulo maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Archytas marmoratus Parasite Larvae/Pupae Honduras maize; sorghum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bacillus cereus Pathogen Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bacillus thuringiensis Pathogen Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bacillus thuringiensis alesti Pathogen Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bacillus thuringiensis darmstadiensis Pathogen Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae Pathogen Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki Pathogen Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bacillus thuringiensis thuringiensis Pathogen Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bacillus thuringiensis tolworthi Pathogen Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Baculovirus spodoptera Pathogen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Balaustium putmani Predator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Beauveria bassiana Pathogen Eggs/Larvae Komivi et al. (2019) Kenya
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Brachymeria ovata Parasite Pupae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Calleida decora Predator Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Calosoma alternans Predator Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Calosoma sayi Predator Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Campoletis chlorideae Parasite Shylesha et al. (2018) Barbados, India maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Campoletis flavicincta Parasite Larvae Silva et al. (2012) Brazil; Sao Paulo maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Campoletis grioti Parasite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Campoletis oxylus
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Campoletis sonorensis Parasite Honduras maize; sorghum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Carabidae Predator Larvae/Pupae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Charops ater Parasite Larvae Sisay et al. (2018) Kenya, Tanzania maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chelonus curvimaculatus Parasite Eggs/Larvae Kenya
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chelonus formosanus Parasite Larvae Barbados; Trinidad and Tobago maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chelonus insularis Parasite Eggs/Larvae Brazil; Sao Paulo; Honduras maize; sorghum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Coccygidium luteum Parasite Larvae Sisay et al. (2018) Kenya; Tanzania maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cotesia icipe Parasite Larvae Sisay et al. (2018) Ethiopia; Kenya
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cotesia marginiventris Parasite Larvae Barbados; Brazil; Sao Paulo; Honduras; Trinidad maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cotesia ruficrus Parasite Larvae Trinidad and Tobago
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cryptus albitarsis Parasite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Diapetimorpha introita Parasite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Doru luteipes Predator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Doru taeniatum Predator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ectatomma ruidum Predator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Eiphosoma vitticolle Parasite Brazil; Sao Paulo; Honduras maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Entomophaga aulicae Pathogen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Erynia radicans Pathogen Venezuela maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Euplectrus comstockii Parasite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Euplectrus platyhypenae Parasite Larvae Guyana; St Kitts Nevis
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Forficula Predator Larvae Shylesha et al. (2018) India
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Geocoris punctipes Predator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Glabromicroplitis croceipes Parasite Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Glyptapanteles creatonoti Parasite Larvae Shylesha et al. (2018) India
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Granulosis virus Pathogen Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hyposoter annulipes Parasite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Labidura riparia Predator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lespesia affinis Parasite Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lespesia archippivora Parasite Larvae Brazil; Sao Paulo; Honduras maize; sorghum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Limonethe spodopterae Parasite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lixophaga diatraeae Parasite Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Metarhizium anisopliae Pathogen Eggs/Larvae Kenya
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Meteorus autographae Parasite Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Meteorus laphygmae Parasite Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Microchelonus heliopae Parasite Eggs/Larvae Barbados maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Microplitis manilae Parasite Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Microplitis rufiventris Parasite Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nabis capsiformis Predator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Noctuidonema guyanense Parasite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nomuraea rileyi Pathogen Larvae Nicaragua; Venezuela, India maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Nucleopolyhedrosis virus Pathogen Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ophion flavidus Parasite Brazil; Sao Paulo; Honduras maize; sorghum
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Orius insidiosus Predator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Paecilomyces fumosoroseus Pathogen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Palexorista zonata Parasite Larvae Sisay et al. (2018) Ethiopia; Kenya maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Podisus connexivus Predator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Podisus maculiventris Predator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Solenopsis invicta Predator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Spilochalcis chapadae Parasite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Spodoptera frugiperda multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus Pathogen Larvae Behle and Popham (2012); Gómez et al. (2013); Haase et al. (2015)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Steinernema carpocapsae Parasite Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Steinernema feltiae Parasite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Steinernema riobravis Parasite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Stelopolybia pallipes Predator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sycanus indagator Predator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Telenomus remus Parasite Eggs Barbados; Benin; Bermuda; Côte d'Ivoire; Florida; Guyana; Kenya; Niger; South Africa; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; Venezuela maize; vegetables
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Temelucha difficilis Parasite
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Trichogramma achaeae Parasite Eggs Barbados maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Trichogramma chilotraeae Parasite Eggs Barbados maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Trichogramma pretiosum Parasite Eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Trichogramma rojasi Parasite Eggs Camera et al. (2010)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Trichospilus pupivora Parasite Barbados maize
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Vairimorpha necatrix Pathogen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Winthemia rufiventris Parasite Larvae

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Notes on Natural Enemies

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Efforts were made to introduce the egg parasitoid, Telenomus remus, into countries where it had not already been found. These introductions have been credited with reducing the numbers of this and other pest Spodoptera occuring alongside it (Cock, 1985).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Means of Movement and Dispersal

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          S. frugiperda is a regular annual migrant in the Americas, dispersing throughout the USA and flying into southern Canada virtually every summer (Westbrook et al., 2016). It is suggested that, in this species, migration has evolved as a major component in the life history strategy. The use of the pre-oviposition (maturation) period for widespread dispersal seems to be very effective. In the USA, adult moths have been recorded using a low-level jet stream, which took them from Mississippi to Canada in 30 h.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Larvae frequently act as armyworms in late summer or early autumn and local dispersal is thus effected successfully, which helps to reduce larval mortality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In most years larvae arrive in Europe carried by air-freight on vegetables or fruit from the New World; sometimes they are also intercepted on herbaceous ornamentals (Seymour et al., 1985). A useful review of this topic was produced by Johnson (1987)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The rapid spread of fall armyworm where it has recently invaded in Africa has been attributed to the strong flight capacity of the insect. The rapid spread to the Indian Ocean Islands and to Asia is harder to explain by natural flight, so it is possible that the frequent flights to those countries could have played a part. Cock et al. (2017) concluded that potential pathways of spread included unaided dispersal by wind-assisted flight, as contaminants of traded commodities, and as stowaways on or in aircraft. Wind-assisted flight alone might not have been sufficient for fall armyworm to cross the Atlantic or the Indian Ocean, but once it arrived, all the pathways listed could have occurred. It is still not clear whether there were multiple introduction events, or a single event involving multiple individuals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pathway Causes

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Crop production Yes Yes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cut flower trade Yes Yes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Horticulture Yes Yes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pathway Vectors

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Plants or parts of plants Yes Yes Seymour et al. (1985)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bulk freight or cargopotential pathway Yes Cock et al. (2017)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Aircraftpotential pathway Yes Cock et al. (2017)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wind Yes Yes Johnson (1987)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Plant Trade

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx eggs; larvae Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Fruits (inc. pods) eggs; larvae Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Leaves eggs; larvae Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Seedlings/Micropropagated plants eggs; larvae Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches eggs Yes Pest or symptoms usually invisible
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bark
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Growing medium accompanying plants
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Roots
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          True seeds (inc. grain)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Impact Summary

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          CategoryImpact
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Economic/livelihood Negative
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Environment (generally) Negative

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Economic Impact

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          S. frugiperda is found widely throughout the warmer parts of the New World. Damage results from leaf-eating and healthy plants usually recover quite quickly, but a large pest population can cause defoliation and resulting yield losses; the larvae then migrate to adjacent areas in true armyworm fashion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Left unmanaged, or in the absence of natural biological control, fall armyworm can cause significant yield loss in maize and other crops. There are many variables to consider in determining the potential yield loss due to fall armyworm infestation. In general, how the crop responds to fall armyworm infestation is highly dependent on the population level of the pest and the timing of infestation, natural enemies and pathogen levels that can help to naturally regulate the populations, and the health and vigour of the maize plant (nutritional and moisture status). Baudron et al. (2019) have reported maize infestation of between 26.4 and 55.9% and impact on yield of 11.57%. Other authors have reported leaf, silk and tassel damage levels ranging between 25 and 50% and grain yield decrease of 58% (Chimweta et al., 2019). In Nicaragua, van Huis (1981) found a 33% increase in maize yield when plants were protected with insecticide. Infestations during the mid- to late-whorl stage of maize development caused yield losses of 15-73% when 55-100% of the plants were infested with S. frugiperda (Hruska and Gould, 1997). Caterpillars of S. frugiperda appear to be much more damaging to maize in West and Central Africa than most other African Spodoptera species (IITA, 2016).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Risk and Impact Factors

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Invasiveness
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Invasive in its native range
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Proved invasive outside its native range
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Has a broad native range
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Abundant in its native range
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Highly adaptable to different environments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Is a habitat generalist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Pioneering in disturbed areas
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Tolerant of shade
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Highly mobile locally
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Fast growing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Has high reproductive potential
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Has high genetic variability
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Impact outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Altered trophic level
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Damaged ecosystem services
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Host damage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Increases vulnerability to invasions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Monoculture formation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Negatively impacts agriculture
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Negatively impacts cultural/traditional practices
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Negatively impacts livelihoods
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Damages animal/plant products
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Negatively impacts trade/international relations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Impact mechanisms
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Interaction with other invasive species
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Rapid growth
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Likelihood of entry/control
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Difficult/costly to control

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Detection and Inspection

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Detection is facilitated by searching fields for leaf feeding damage and by pheromone traps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Larvae of S. frugiperda are distinct in their aggressive feeding behaviour and dark coloration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Adults of S. frugiperda can be confused with those of S. exempta and S. littoralis. In S. frugiperda the veins of the hindwing are brown and distinct, and in the male forewing the pale orbicular stigma has a pronounced pale 'tail'; distally. In the male genitalia the valve is almost rectangular and there is no marginal notch at the position of the tip of the harpe; the female bursa lacks a signum. In Africa it can also be confused with S. exigua (IITA, 2016). An EPPO standard provides guidance for the identification of S. littoralis, S. litura, S. frugiperda and S. eridania (OEPP/EPPO, 2015); Brown and Dewhurst (1975) give details of the African species of Spodoptera, and Todd and Poole (1980) give keys to moths of the genus Spodoptera in the Western Hemisphere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Prevention and Control

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Introduction

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The literature on this pest is extensive (Ashley et al., 1989). This is in part due to the importance of maize, the importance of lepidopteran pests, the quest for alternative control methods following the development of insect resistance to pesticides, and the development of host-plant resistance breeding programmes. On maize, if 5% of seedlings are cut or 20% of whorls of small plants (during the first 30 days) are infested, it is recommended that an insecticide be applied (King and Saunders, 1984); on sorghum the pest threshold level is regarded as one (or two) larvae per leaf whorl and two per head (Pitre, 1985).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Cultural Control

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Control is largely achieved in the northern range through a winter kill by exposing larvae and pupae within the upper soil surface. Freezing temperatures cause high larval mortality. Therefore, clean cultivation and weeding are recommended. Some locally adaptable methods have also been tried such as soil, charcoal, ash, detergents, paraffin and engine oil. Various plant extracts are often included, such as chilli, neem, Tephrosia, Tithonia, Lantana and garlic. Handpicking egg masses and caterpillars has been tried in Africa. The efficacy of these methods is not well documented.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Agro-ecological options

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Harrison et al. (2019) have reviewed evidence for the efficacy of potential agro-ecological measures for controlling fall armyworm. These include (i) sustainable soil fertility management, especially measures that maintain or restore soil organic carbon; (ii) intercropping with appropriately selected companion plants; and (iii) diversifying the farm environment through management of (semi)natural habitats at multiple spatial scales. The 'push-pull' system has been shown to reduce fall armyworm damage due to various pests in maize (Midega et al., 2018). A study in Uganda showed that intercropping maize with food legume crops can reduce fall armyworm damage levels by 30% with bean, 21% with soyabean and 31% with groundnut (Hailu et al., 2018).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Biological Control

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A large number of parasitic Hymenoptera, acting as larval parasitoids, have been reared from S. frugiperda, and many predators are recorded including recent work by Molina-Ochoa et al. (2003), Hay-Roe et al. (2016), Meagher et al. (2016), Birhanu Sisay et al. (2018), Shylesha et al. (2018) and Kenis et al. (2019); it appears that natural controls are of considerable importance. Natural levels of larval parasitism are often very high (20-70%), mostly by braconid wasps. Some 10-15% of larvae are often killed by pathogens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The compound N-(17-hydroxylinolenoyl)-L-glutamine called volicitin was isolated from oral secretions of Spodoptera exigua larvae. When applied to damaged leaves of maize seedlings, volicitin induced the seedlings to emit volatile compounds that attracted females of the parasitoid Cotesia marginiventris. Mechanical damage of the leaves, without application of this compound, did not trigger release of the same blend of volatiles. Volicitin appears to regulate tritrophic interactions among plants, insect herbivores and natural enemies of S. exigua (Alborn et al., 1997).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Biopesticides

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Virus-based insecticides, which are mostly in the Baculovirus group, such as the multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (SfMNPV) have potential for use in the management of fall armyworm (Behle and Popham, 2012; Gómez et al., 2013; Haase et al., 2015). They are highly host specific, non-pathogenic to beneficial insects and other non-target organisms, and are attractive candidates for integrated pest management. SfMNPV is specific to only fall armyworm. The pest is infected by ingesting the baculovirus. The symptoms of Baculovirus infection include appearance of blemishes, yellowing of the skin, and decline in feeding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Metarhizium anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana have also shown efficacy against eggs and second-instar larvae of fall armyworm (Komivi et al., 2019). B. bassiana caused moderate mortality of 30% to second-instar larvae. M. anisopliae caused egg mortalities of 79.5-87.0% under laboratory conditions. Cumulative mortality of eggs and neonates with M. anisopliae reached as high as 96% with some fungal isolates. Bateman et al. (2018) reviewed products registered in 30 countries, 11 in the fall armyworm native range and 19 in Africa, and 50 biopesticide active ingredients were identified for use on this pest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Botanicals

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Azadirachtin (neem) is effective against fall armyworm. Oxymatrine and matrine (found in Sophora spp.) are reported to be effective against fall armyworm in the field and laboratory bioassays, respectively, in the Americas. Pyrethrins (from Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium, formerly Pyrethrum) are effective against fall armyworm and registered in many countries, but have non-target risks that require mitigation. In Mexico, recent studies have shown that extracts of Couroupita guianensis and Myrtillocactus geometrizans could be good candidates for the control of Spodoptera due to their larvicidal activity. Also, extracts from Synedrella nodiflora and Lupinus stipulatus have shown to have biological effects on mature insects of the genus Spodoptera.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Host-Plant Resistance

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Spodoptera spp. resistance breeding programmes have developed field crop varieties with improved resistance, one example being maize (Mihm et al., 1988). One resistance mechanism that appears to be operating in maize is increased leaf toughness vis-à-vis a thicker epidermis (Davis et al., 1995).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Transgenic maize containing genes encoding delta-endotoxins from Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki have been commercialized in the USA and Brazil. Vegetative insecticidal proteins (vip) have been isolated from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) during the vegetative phase of growth which show a wide spectrum of activities against lepidopteran pests, especially Spodoptera spp. (Estruch et al., 1996). Spodoptera spp. appear to be controlled by these toxins, but the development of resistance is a concern (Moar et al., 1995). Field-evolved resistance to the Bt maize expressing the Cry1Ab protein is reducing it efficacy in Brazil  (Omoto et al., 2016). Fatoretto et al. (2017) reported that most Bt maize hybrids lost their ability to control fall armyworm within 3 years of introduction in Brazil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chemical Control

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In some areas resistance to insecticides may be widespread and control can be difficult (Pitre, 1985). Recommended insecticides for Spodoptera spp. include esfenvalerate, carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, malathion, permethrin, and lamba-cyhalothrin (Anon., 1997). Togola et al. (2018) showed that five insecticide compounds used against fall armyworm (cypermethrin, deltamethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, permethrin, and chorpyrifos) remained in the soil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pheromonal Control

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The sex pheromone for S. frugiperda contains (Z)-9-Tetradecenyl acetate (Z-9-14:OAca) which is common to Trichoplusia ni, Spodoptera exigua and Agrotis ipsilon exigua (Klun et al., 1996). Mating disruption my be possible given the successes observed for S. exigua in which (9Z,12E)-9,12-tetradecadienyl acetate released at high concentrations, caused mating disruption in tomato, lucerne and cotton fields (Shorey et al., 1994).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          IPM Programmes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Integrated control of S. frugiperda has been facilitated through cultivation practices to destroy overwintering sites, improved varieties with resistance to leaf feeding through conventional mechanisms or the introduction of Bt crops. Biological controls are prevalent and should be encouraged through reduced spaying of insecticides. CIMMYT (2018) have published a technical guide for IPM of S. frugiperda in Africa. CABI has also produced a manual for the training on farmers on how to use IPM in the management of fall armyworm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          References

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Souza I R P de, Mendes S M, Rafael H A, Barros B de A, Pinto M de O, Carneiro N P, Lana U G de P, Landau E C, Ribeiro C A G, Pastina M M, 2015. Population structure of Spodoptera frugiperda collected in maize from different Brazilian geographic regions. Revista Brasileira de Milho e Sorgo. 14 (3), 300-315. http://rbms.cnpms.embrapa.br/index.php/ojs/article/view/731/pdf_439

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Srikanth J, Geetha N, Singaravelu B, Ramasubramanian T, Mahesh P, Saravanan L, Salin K P, Chitra N, Muthukumar M, 2018. First report of occurrence of fall armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda in sugarcane from Tamil Nadu, India. Journal of Sugarcane Research. 8 (2), 195-202. http://sugarcane.icar.gov.in/images/sbi/article/jsr/vol8/pp195-202.pdf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Starratt A N, McLeod D G R, 1982. Monitoring fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), moth populations in southwestern Ontario with sex pheromone traps. Canadian Entomologist. 114 (7), 545-549.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Swamy H M M, Asokan R, Kalleshwaraswamy C M, Sharanabasappa, Prasad Y G, Maruthi M S, Shashank P R, Devi N I, Anusha Surakasula, Adarsha S, Srinivas A, Srinivasa Rao, Vidyasekhar, Raju M S, Reddy G S S, Nagesh S N, 2018. Prevalence of "R" strain and molecular diversity of fall army worm Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in India. Indian Journal of Entomology. 80 (3), 544-553. http://www.indianjournals.com/ijor.aspx?target=ijor:ije&type=home DOI:10.5958/0974-8172.2018.00239.0

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Uzayisenga B, Waweru B, Kajuga J, Karangwa P, Uwumukiza B, Edgington S, Thompson E, Offord L, Cafá G, Buddie A, 2018. First Record of the Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith, 1797) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), in Rwanda. In: African Entomology, 26 (1) 244-246.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          24/05/19 Review by:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ivan Rwomushana, CABI Africa, Canary Bird, 673 Limuru Road, Muthaiga, Nairobi, Kenya.

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