Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

First record of the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith, 1797) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), in Rwanda.

Abstract

In March 2017, during field inspections in Rwanda, a number of maize (Zea mays) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) plants were found to be infested with armyworm larvae. Based on morphological characteristics the larvae were tentatively identified in situ as fall armyworm (FAW) Spodoptera frugiperda. The larvae were observed in six districts of Rwanda: Nyamagabe, Huye, Gisagara, Nyanza and Ruhango in the Southern Province and Gatsibo in the Eastern Province. Sixty larvae were collected for molecular identification (10 from each district), from maize and sorghum. The larvae were subsequently identified as S. frugiperda based on markings at both posterior and anterior ends and longitudinal banding patterns, as well as DNA barcoding of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase 1 gene (CO1). The barcodes obtained provided a 100% match to voucher specimen sequences of S. frugiperda, including the rice strain haplotype 1 (GenBank accession number U72977). This is thought to be the first confirmed record of FAW in Rwanda and adds to confirmed FAW records for 10 other African countries, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Kenya, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Short information is also given on host range, life cycle and morphology of S. frugiperda.