Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Spodoptera littoralis
(cotton leafworm)

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Datasheet

Spodoptera littoralis (cotton leafworm)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 06 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Spodoptera littoralis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • cotton leafworm
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Larva of S. littoralis, showing light and dark longitudinal bands on sides of the body and dark spots on segments of the dorsal side.
TitleLarva
CaptionLarva of S. littoralis, showing light and dark longitudinal bands on sides of the body and dark spots on segments of the dorsal side.
CopyrightBiologische Bundesanstalt, Dossenheim, Germany
Larva of S. littoralis, showing light and dark longitudinal bands on sides of the body and dark spots on segments of the dorsal side.
LarvaLarva of S. littoralis, showing light and dark longitudinal bands on sides of the body and dark spots on segments of the dorsal side.Biologische Bundesanstalt, Dossenheim, Germany
S. littoralis larva feeding on cotton leaves.
TitleLarva
CaptionS. littoralis larva feeding on cotton leaves.
CopyrightAgrEvo
S. littoralis larva feeding on cotton leaves.
LarvaS. littoralis larva feeding on cotton leaves.AgrEvo
Adult moth of S. littoralis (museum set specimen).
TitleAdult
CaptionAdult moth of S. littoralis (museum set specimen).
Copyright©Georg Goergen/IITA Insect Museum, Cotonou, Benin
Adult moth of S. littoralis (museum set specimen).
AdultAdult moth of S. littoralis (museum set specimen).©Georg Goergen/IITA Insect Museum, Cotonou, Benin
S. littoralis egg mass on leaf of Rosa spp. from Kenya.
TitleOva
CaptionS. littoralis egg mass on leaf of Rosa spp. from Kenya.
CopyrightMaarten van Merriënboer/PPS, Aalsmeer, Netherlands
S. littoralis egg mass on leaf of Rosa spp. from Kenya.
OvaS. littoralis egg mass on leaf of Rosa spp. from Kenya.Maarten van Merriënboer/PPS, Aalsmeer, Netherlands
Close-up of S. littoralis egg mass on leaf of Rosa spp. from Kenya.
TitleOva
CaptionClose-up of S. littoralis egg mass on leaf of Rosa spp. from Kenya.
CopyrightMaarten van Merriënboer/PPS, Aalsmeer, Netherlands
Close-up of S. littoralis egg mass on leaf of Rosa spp. from Kenya.
OvaClose-up of S. littoralis egg mass on leaf of Rosa spp. from Kenya.Maarten van Merriënboer/PPS, Aalsmeer, Netherlands

Identity

Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Spodoptera littoralis (Boisduval)

Preferred Common Name

  • cotton leafworm

Other Scientific Names

  • Hadena littoralis Boisduval
  • Noctua gossypii
  • Prodenia littoralis (Boisduval)
  • Prodenia litura Fabricius sensu auctorum
  • Prodenia retina (Freyer)
  • Prodenia testaceoides Guenee

International Common Names

  • English: Egyptian cotton leafworm; Egyptian cotton worm; leafworm, Egyptian cotton; Mediterranean brocade moth; Mediterranean climbing cutworm; Mediterranean climbing cutworm; tobacco caterpillar; tomato caterpillar
  • Spanish: gusano negro; rosquilla negra
  • French: noctuelle méditerranéenne; ver du coton

Local Common Names

  • Denmark: afrikansk bomuldsugle
  • Finland: krysanteemiyökönnen
  • Germany: Afrikanischer Baumwollwurm
  • Sweden: afrikanskt bomullsfly

EPPO code

  • SPODLI (Spodoptera littoralis)

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Lepidoptera
  •                         Family: Noctuidae
  •                             Genus: Spodoptera
  •                                 Species: Spodoptera littoralis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page For about 60 years, the Egyptian cotton leafworm was known as Prodenia litura. However, Viette (1962) demonstrated that S. littoralis is a species separate from S. litura. Some authors mistakenly continue to regard the allopatric Old World cotton leafworm species S. littoralis and S. litura as the same species. Generally, however, it is accepted that S. littoralis is found in Africa, Madagascar, Europe and the Middle East, whereas S. litura is found in Asia, Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Description

Top of page Eggs

Spherical, somewhat flattened, 0.6 mm in diameter, laid in clusters arranged in more or less regular rows in one to three layers, with hair scales derived from the tip of the abdomen of the female moth. Usually whitish-yellow in colour, changing to black just prior to hatching, due to the big head of the larva showing through the transparent shell (Pinhey, 1975).


Larvae

Larvae grow to 40-45 mm and are hairless, cylindrical, tapering towards the posterior and variable in colour (blackish-grey to dark green, becoming reddish-brown or whitish-yellow). The sides of the body have dark and light longitudinal bands; dorsal side with two dark semilunar spots laterally on each segment, except for the prothorax; spots on the first and eighth abdominal segments larger than the others, interrupting the lateral lines on the first segment. The larva of S. littoralis is figured by Bishari (1934) and Brown and Dewhurst (1975).

Pupae

When newly formed, pupae are green with a reddish colour on the abdomen, turining dark reddish-brown after a few hours. The general shape is cylindrical, 14-20 x 5 mm, tapering towards the posterior segments of the abdomen. The last segment ends in two strong straight hooks (Pinhey, 1975).

Adults

Moth with grey-brown body, 15-20 mm long; wingspan 30-38 mm; forewings grey to reddish brown with paler lines along the veins (in males, bluish areas occur on the wing base and tip); the ocellus is marked by two or three oblique whitish stripes. Hindwings are greyish white, irridescent with grey margins and usually lack darker veins (EPPO, 1997).

Distribution

Top of page The northernly distribution limit of S. littoralis in Europe corresponds to the climatic zone in which winter frosts are infrequent. It occurs throughout Africa and extends eastwards into Turkey and north into eastern Spain, southern France and northern Italy. However, this boundary is probably the extent of migrant activity only because although the pest overwinters in southern Spain, it does not do so in northern Italy or France. In southern Greece, pupae have been observed in the soil after November and the species overwinters in this stage in Crete. Low winter temperatures are therefore an important limiting factor affecting the northerly distribution, especially in a species with no known diapause (Miller, 1976; Sidibe and Lauge, 1977).

Distribution Table

Top of page

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.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

BahrainPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
IranWidespreadCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
IraqPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
IsraelWidespreadCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
JordanPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
LebanonPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
OmanPresentEPPO, 2014
PakistanAbsent, formerly presentEPPO, 2014
Saudi ArabiaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
SyriaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
TurkeyRestricted distribution197*CIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
United Arab EmiratesPresentEPPO, 2014
YemenRestricted distributionEPPO, 2014

Africa

AlgeriaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
AngolaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
BeninPresentEPPO, 2014
BotswanaPresentEPPO, 2014
Burkina FasoPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
BurundiPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
CameroonPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
Cape VerdePresentEPPO, 2014
Central African RepublicPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
ChadPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
ComorosPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
CongoPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentEPPO, 2014
Côte d'IvoirePresentEPPO, 2014
EgyptWidespreadCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
Equatorial GuineaRestricted distributionEPPO, 2014
EritreaRestricted distributionCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
EthiopiaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
GambiaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
GhanaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
GuineaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
KenyaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
LibyaWidespreadCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
MadagascarPresentEPPO, 2014
MalawiPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
MaliPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
MauritaniaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
MauritiusPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
MoroccoWidespreadCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
MozambiquePresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
NamibiaPresentEPPO, 2014
NigerPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
NigeriaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
RéunionPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
RwandaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
Saint HelenaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
-AscensionPresentCIE, 1967
Sao Tome and PrincipePresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
SenegalPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
SeychellesPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
Sierra LeonePresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
SomaliaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
South AfricaWidespreadCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
SudanPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
SwazilandPresentEPPO, 2014
TanzaniaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
TogoPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
TunisiaRestricted distributionCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
UgandaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
ZambiaPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
ZimbabweWidespreadCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014

Europe

AustriaAbsent, no pest recordEPPO, 2014
BelgiumAbsent, no pest recordEPPO, 2014
CroatiaAbsent, confirmed by surveyEPPO, 2014
CyprusWidespreadCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
DenmarkAbsent, intercepted onlyIPPC, 2013; EPPO, 2014
FinlandEradicatedEPPO, 2014
FrancePresent, few occurrencesCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
GermanyAbsent, intercepted onlyEPPO, 2014
GreeceRestricted distributionCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
-CretePresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
ItalyRestricted distribution1968CIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
-SicilyPresentEPPO, 2014
MaltaWidespreadCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
NetherlandsEradicatedNPPO of the Netherlands, 2013; EPPO, 2014Absent, pest eradicated, confirmed by survey. Based on long-term annual surveys, 362 survey observations in 2012.
PortugalRestricted distributionEPPO, 2014
-AzoresPresentEPPO, 2014
-MadeiraPresentCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
SpainRestricted distributionCIE, 1967; EPPO, 2014
-Balearic IslandsRestricted distributionEPPO, 2014
SwedenAbsent, formerly presentEPPO, 2014
SwitzerlandAbsent, formerly presentEPPO, 2014
UKEradicatedEPPO, 2014
-England and WalesAbsent, formerly presentEPPO, 2014

Risk of Introduction

Top of page EPPO has listed S. littoralis as an A2 quarantine pest (OEPP/EPPO, 1981). CPPC, NAPPO and OIRSA also consider it to be of quarantine significance. It is a potential pest of areas where the average annual minimal temperature is not below -10°C. S. littoralis is already fairly widespread in Mediterranean countries and does not present a phytosanitary risk there. The most significant phytosanitary risk for S. littoralis is the possible introduction into glasshouses in most parts of Europe, where it could damage many ornamental and vegetable crops. Although control with insecticides is possible, there have been many cases of resistance and the lack of available biological control methods means that introduction of S. littoralis into glasshouses could necessitate insecticide treatments that could interfere with existing biological control of other pests (EPPO, 1997).

S. littoralis first appeared in UK glasshouses in considerable numbers in 1963. It was found that the eggs were being introduced on imported cuttings, especially chrysanthemums and carnations.

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page The host range of S. littoralis covers over 40 families, containing at least 87 species of economic importance (Salama et al., 1970).

In many of the published reports of host plants, it is difficult to distinguish between S. littoralis and S. litura but the tabular data refers entirely to records from the distribution area of the former. Both species are totally polyphagous (Brown and Dewhurst, 1975; Holloway, 1989).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Abelmoschus esculentus (okra)MalvaceaeMain
Acacia nilotica (gum arabic tree)FabaceaeOther
Actinidia arguta (tara vine)ActinidiaceaeOther
Alcea rosea (Hollyhock)MalvaceaeOther
Allium cepa (onion)LiliaceaeMain
Allium fistulosum (Welsh onion)LiliaceaeOther
Amaranthus (amaranth)AmaranthaceaeMain
Anemone (windflower)RanunculaceaeOther
Antirrhinum majus (snapdragon)ScrophulariaceaeWild host
Apium graveolens (celery)ApiaceaeOther
Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)FabaceaeMain
Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)LiliaceaeOther
Beta vulgaris (beetroot)ChenopodiaceaeMain
Beta vulgaris var. saccharifera (sugarbeet)ChenopodiaceaeMain
Brassica oleracea (cabbages, cauliflowers)BrassicaceaeMain
Brassica oleracea var. capitata (cabbage)BrassicaceaeOther
Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis (Chinese cabbage)BrassicaceaeMain
Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensisBrassicaceaeOther
Brassicaceae (cruciferous crops)BrassicaceaeMain
CaladiumAraceaeOther
Callistephus chinensis (China aster)AsteraceaeOther
Camellia sinensis (tea)TheaceaeMain
CannaCannaceaeOther
Capsicum (peppers)SolanaceaeOther
Capsicum annuum (bell pepper)SolanaceaeMain
Casuarina equisetifolia (casuarina)CasuarinaceaeWild host
Chloris gayana (rhodes grass)PoaceaeOther
Chrysanthemum indicum (chrysanthemum)AsteraceaeMain
Citrullus lanatus (watermelon)CucurbitaceaeMain
CitrusRutaceaeMain
Citrus aurantium (sour orange)RutaceaeMain
Coffea arabica (arabica coffee)RubiaceaeMain
Convolvulus (morning glory)ConvolvulaceaeOther
Corchorus capsularis (white jute)TiliaceaeOther
Corchorus olitorius (jute)TiliaceaeMain
CryptomeriaTaxodiaceaeOther
Cucurbita (pumpkin)CucurbitaceaeMain
Cucurbita pepo (marrow)CucurbitaceaeMain
Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus (globe artichoke)AsteraceaeMain
Dalbergia sissooFabaceaeOther
Datura (thorn-apple)SolanaceaeOther
Daucus carota (carrot)ApiaceaeMain
Dianthus barbatus (sweet williams)CaryophyllaceaeOther
Dianthus caryophyllus (carnation)CaryophyllaceaeMain
Eucalyptus globulus (Tasmanian blue gum)MyrtaceaeWild host
EuphorbiaceaeEuphorbiaceaeOther
Fabaceae (leguminous plants)FabaceaeMain
Ficus carica (common fig)MoraceaeMain
Fragaria vesca (wild strawberry)RosaceaeWild host
Gerbera (Barbeton daisy)AsteraceaeMain
Gladiolus hybrids (sword lily)IridaceaeOther
Glycine max (soyabean)FabaceaeMain
Gossypium (cotton)MalvaceaeMain
Gossypium barbadense (Gallini cotton)MalvaceaeMain
Guizotia abyssinica (niger)AsteraceaeWild host
Helianthus annuus (sunflower)AsteraceaeMain
Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke)AsteraceaeMain
Hibiscus cannabinus (kenaf)MalvaceaeOther
Hibiscus mutabilis (cottonrose)MalvaceaeOther
Indigofera tinctoria (true indigo)FabaceaeOther
Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato)ConvolvulaceaeMain
Jatropha curcas (jatropha)EuphorbiaceaeWild host
Lactuca sativa (lettuce)AsteraceaeMain
LantanaVerbenaceaeOther
Luffa aegyptiaca (loofah)CucurbitaceaeOther
LycopersiconSolanaceaeOther
Malus sylvestris (crab-apple tree)RosaceaeWild host
Medicago sativa (lucerne)FabaceaeMain
Melilotus spp.FabaceaeOther
Mentha spicata (Spear mint)LamiaceaeOther
Monstera deliciosa (ceriman)AraceaeWild host
Morus (mulberrytree)MoraceaeMain
Musa (banana)MusaceaeOther
Musa x paradisiaca (plantain)MusaceaeMain
Nicandra physalodes (apple of Peru)SolanaceaeWild host
Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco)SolanaceaeMain
Opuntia (Pricklypear)CactaceaeOther
Oryza sativa (rice)PoaceaeMain
Persea americana (avocado)LauraceaeMain
Phaseolus (beans)FabaceaeMain
Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean)FabaceaeMain
Phoenix dactylifera (date-palm)ArecaceaeOther
Piper (pepper)PiperaceaeOther
Pistia stratiotes (water lettuce)AraceaeOther
Pisum sativum (pea)FabaceaeMain
Poaceae (grasses)PoaceaeMain
Polyphagous (polyphagous)Main
Populus alba (silver-leaf poplar)SalicaceaeOther
Portulaca oleracea (purslane)PortulacaceaeOther
Prunus domestica (plum)RosaceaeMain
Prunus salicina (Japanese plum)RosaceaeOther
Psidium guajava (guava)MyrtaceaeMain
Punica granatum (pomegranate)PunicaceaeMain
Quercus petraea (durmast oak)FagaceaeWild host
Raphanus sativus (radish)BrassicaceaeMain
Ricinus communis (castor bean)EuphorbiaceaeMain
Rosa (roses)RosaceaeMain
Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)PoaceaeMain
Salvia officinalis (common sage)LamiaceaeOther
Senecio (Groundsel)AsteraceaeWild host
Sesamum indicum (sesame)PedaliaceaeOther
Sesbania sesban (sesban)FabaceaeOther
Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)SolanaceaeMain
Solanum melongena (aubergine)SolanaceaeMain
Solanum tuberosum (potato)SolanaceaeMain
Sorghum bicolor (sorghum)PoaceaeMain
Spinacia oleracea (spinach)ChenopodiaceaeMain
Tectona grandis (teak)LamiaceaeWild host
Theobroma cacao (cocoa)SterculiaceaeMain
Trifolium (clovers)FabaceaeOther
Trifolium alexandrinum (Berseem clover)FabaceaeOther
Trifolium repens (white clover)FabaceaeOther
Trifolium spp.FabaceaeOther
Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek)FabaceaeOther
Triticum aestivum (wheat)PoaceaeMain
Verbena (vervain)VerbenaceaeOther
Vicia faba (faba bean)FabaceaeMain
Vigna angularis (adzuki bean)FabaceaeOther
Vigna mungo (black gram)FabaceaeMain
Vigna radiata (mung bean)FabaceaeMain
Vigna unguiculata (cowpea)FabaceaeMain
Viola odorata (English violet)ViolaceaeOther
Vitis vinifera (grapevine)VitaceaeMain
Zea mays (maize)PoaceaeMain
Zinnia elegans (zinnia)AsteraceaeOther

Growth Stages

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

Symptoms

Top of page On most crops, damage arises from extensive feeding by larvae, leading to complete stripping of the plants.

On cotton, the larvae feed on the leaves creating large holes of irregular shape and usually all that remains are the bigger veins. The larvae may also bore into the bud or young boll and consume the whole contents, causing them to be shed or dry up (Bishari, 1934). Bolls have large holes in them from which yellowish- to dark-green larval excrement protrudes. On tobacco, leaves develop irregular, brownish-red patches and the stem base may be gnawed off. Maize stems are often mined by S. littoralis and young grains in the ear may also be damaged.

List of Symptoms/Signs

Top of page
SignLife StagesType
Fruit / frass visible
Fruit / internal feeding
Fruit / obvious exit hole
Fruit / premature drop
Leaves / external feeding
Leaves / shredding

Biology and Ecology

Top of page Female moths lay most of their egg masses (20-1000 eggs) on the lower surface of younger leaves or upper parts of the plant (Khalifa et al., 1982). On cotton, the first three larval instars feed mainly on the lower surface of the leaves, whereas later instars feed on both surfaces. The larvae feed mainly in the dark, although this behaviour pattern may be less noticeable in early instars (Hassan et al., 1960). Pinhey (1975) recorded that >50% of the nocturnal larval population consisted of early instar larvae. In summer the majority of fifth- and sixth-instar larvae leave the plants during mid-morning until sunset, returning to climb the plant at night (Baker and Miller, 1974). Third- and fourth-instars rest on the plant and remain stationary unless overcrowded.

On pupation the fully grown larva pushes the loose surface of the soil downwards until it reaches more solid ground 3-5 cm deep. It then creates a clay 'cell' or cocoon in which it usually pupates within 5-6 hours (Pinhey, 1975).

Emergence of adult moths occurs at night and they have a life span of 5-10 days (Shalama and Shoukry, 1972). The reproductive capacity, egg facility and life span of moths are affected by the difference in ages between males and females. The highest ratio of egg fertility was obtained by mating between 4-day-old males with fresh females (Nasr and Nassif, 1978). There is also a correlation between the host plant and the longevity and fecundity of S. littoralis (Dimetry and Nadia, 1972). The majority of adults mate on the first night of emergence, copulation lasting for 20 minutes to 2 hours. Approximately 50% of mated females lay their eggs on the same night of mating, before sunrise (Hassan et al., 1960). Adults fly at night, mostly between 20.00 and midnight (Nasr et al., 1981). Flight activity is governed by atmospheric conditions, increases in relative humidity and decreases in air temperature inducing flight (Hassan et al., 1960). The flight range during a 4-hour-period can be up to 1.5 km (Salama and Shoukry, 1972).

The moths have chemoreceptors on the ventral surface of the tarsi and the distal portion of the proboscis. These are highly sensitive and respond to a certain number of sugars mainly present in nectar. Pheromones (comprising of tetradecadien-1-ol acetates) have been isolated and successfully used in traps (Kehat and Gordon, 1975; Campion, 1977).

The minimum constant temperature for normal development in all stages is 13-14°C. Resistance to cold generally increases through the larval stages and is greatest in the pupal stage (Miller, 1977). At 18°C, egg, larval and pupal stages last 9, 34 and 27 days, respectively. At 36°C, egg, larval and pupal stages last 2, 10 and 8 days, respectively. Data on survival and development at different temperatures are provided by Sidibe and Lauge (1977), Baker and Miller (1974) and Ocete Rubio (1984). Information on development on different host crops is given by Dimetry and Nadia (1972), Hirakly and Bishara (1974), Abdal-Fattah (1977), Zoebelein (1977) and Badr et al. (1983). Studies in Egypt indicate that there are seven overlapping generations of S. littoralis when feeding on cotton, and that there are three peak infestation periods (El-Shafei et al., 1981; Khalifa et al., 1982).

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Andrallus spinidens Predator
Apanteles colemani Parasite Larvae
Apanteles prodeniae Parasite Larvae
Apanteles vitripennis Parasite Larvae
Aspergillus flavus Antagonist
Bacillus cereus Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis aizawai Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis alesti Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis colmeri Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis entomocidus Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis kenyae Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis sotto Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. dendrolimus Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis subtoxicus Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis thuringiensis Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis tolworthi Pathogen Larvae
Barylypa humeralis Parasite
Beauveria bassiana Pathogen
Bessa remota Parasite Larvae
Blaptostethus piceus Predator
Blepharella lateralis Parasite Larvae
Borrelinavirus litura Pathogen
Brachymeria excarinata Parasite
Brachymeria lasus Parasite
Bracon brevicornis Parasite Larvae
Bracon hebetor Parasite Larvae Israel
Brinckochrysa scelestes Predator Karnataka
Calosoma blaptoides Predator Larvae Guam
Calosoma chlorostictum Predator Larvae
Campoletis chlorideae Parasite Larvae Maharashtra
Cantheconidia furcellata Predator
Charops obtusus Parasite
Cheiracanthium mildei Predator
Chelonus aegyptia Parasite Larvae
Chelonus curvimaculatus Parasite Larvae
Chelonus formosanus Parasite Larvae
Chelonus inanitus Parasite Eggs/Larvae Egypt; Israel cabbages; polyphagous
Chelonus insularis Parasite Larvae Egypt; India clovers; polyphagous
Chelonus oculator Parasite Özkan and Özmen, 2001
Chrysoperla carnea Predator
Coccinella undecimpunctata Predator
Compsilura concinnata Parasite Larvae
Copidosoma maculata Parasite
Cotesia marginiventris Parasite Larvae Egypt clovers
Cotesia ruficrus Parasite Larvae
Cotesia telengai Parasite Larvae
Cybocephalus micans Predator
cytoplasmic polyhedrosis viruses Pathogen Larvae
Damaster blaptoides Predator Larvae
Drino imberbis Parasite Larvae
Eocanthecona furcellata Predator
Eriborus argenteopilosus Parasite
Euborellia annulipes Predator
Euplectrus laphygmae Parasite
Euplectrus platyhypenae Parasite Pakistan
Exorista larvarum Parasite Larvae
Glyptapanteles africanus Parasite Larvae Gujarat
Glyptapanteles ashmeadi Parasite Larvae
Gnathonarium exsciccatum Predator
Granulosis virus Pathogen
Harpactor costalis Predator
Heterorhabditis heliothidis Parasite
Heterorhabditis indicus Parasite
Homolobus truncatoides Parasite Larvae
Hyposoter didymator Parasite Larvae Cape Verde Cajanus cajan; tomatoes
Hyposoter exiguae Parasite Egypt clovers
Labidura riparia Predator
Lasiochalcidia erythropus Parasite
Lecanicillium lecanii Pathogen
Lespesia archippivora Parasite Larvae Guam
Mallada boninensis Predator
Metarhizium anisopliae Pathogen Karnataka
Metaseiulus occidentalis Predator
Meteorus gyrator Parasite Larvae Egypt cabbages; Corchorus olitorius; Vigna unguiculata
Meteorus pulchricornis Parasite Larvae
Meteorus rubens Parasite Larvae Israel
Microchelonus blackburni Parasite Larvae
Microchelonus heliopae Parasite Larvae Gujarat
Microplitis demolitor Parasite Larvae Egypt clovers
Microplitis manilae Parasite Larvae
Microplitis rufiventris Parasite Larvae Egypt; Israel
Nemorilla maculosa Parasite Larvae
Nesidiocoris tenuis Predator
Nomuraea rileyi Pathogen Larvae
Nosema infuscatellus Pathogen
Nosema liturae Pathogen Guangzhou
Nosema mesnili Pathogen
Nucleopolyhedrosis virus Pathogen
Oncocephalus annulipes Predator
Orius albidipennis Predator
Orius laevigatus Predator
Ovomermis albicans Parasite
Paederus alfierii Predator
Palexorista laxa Parasite Larvae
Peribaea orbata Parasite Larvae Egypt; New Caledonia cabbages; clovers; Corchorus olitorius; Malva pariflora; polyphagous
Peribaea palaestina Parasite Larvae
Philonthus stragulatus Predator
Pimpla hypochondriaca Parasite
Podisus maculiventris Predator
Podisus sagitta Predator
Polistes chinensis chinensis Predator
Polistes jadwigae Predator
Pseudomonas aeruginosa Pathogen
Rhynocoris marginatus Predator
Sarcophaga misera Parasite
Scymnus interruptus Predator
Scymnus syriacus Predator
Serratia marcescens Pathogen
Spodophagus lepidopterae Parasite
Steinernema carpocapsae Parasite
Steinernema feltiae Parasite
Steinernema glaseri Parasite
Telenomus nawaii Parasite Eggs Guam; Samoa bananas; polyphagous
Telenomus remus Parasite Eggs Australia; Cape Verde; Guam; Gujarat; India; Israel; Karnataka; New Zealand; Pakistan Cajanus cajan; polyphagous; tobacco; tomatoes
Telenomus spodopterae Parasite Eggs Egypt clovers
Tetrastichus howardi Parasite Karnataka
Tetrastichus israeli Parasite
Trichogramma buesi Parasite Eggs
Trichogramma cacoeciae Parasite Eggs
Trichogramma chilonis Parasite Eggs Karnataka
Trichogramma evanescens Parasite Eggs
Trichogramma perkinsi Parasite Eggs
Trichogramma rhenana Parasite Eggs
Trichogrammatoidea armigera Parasite Eggs
Trichogrammatoidea australicum Parasite Eggs
Trichogrammatoidea lutea Parasite Eggs
Trichospilus pupivora Parasite
Ummeliata insecticeps Predator
Vairimorpha necatrix Pathogen
Xenorhabdus nematophilus Pathogen
Zele chlorophthalma Parasite Larvae Egypt cabbages; Corchorus olitorius
Zele nigricornis Parasite Larvae

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page Natural enemies that have been observed in the field (Hegazi et al., 1977). Delvare and Rasplus (1994) described the pteromalid parasitoid, Spodophagus lepidopterae, from S. littoralis from Madagascar. Most work on the natural enemies of S. littoralis has been done in Egypt and Spain.

Generalist predators of S. littoralis include ladybirds, which feed on egg masses and young larvae, Paedeus fuscipes (staphylinid rover beetle), Orius albidipennis, Labidura riparia, Creontiades pallidus, Calosoma chlorostictum and Polistes gallicus.

Impact

Top of page S. littoralis is one of the most destructive agricultural lepidopterous pests within its subtropical and tropical range. It can attack numerous economically important crops throughout the year (EPPO, 1997). On cotton, the pest may cause considerable damage by feeding on the leaves, fruiting points, flower buds and occasionally on bolls. When groundnuts are infested, larvae first select young folded leaves for feeding, but in severe attacks, leaves of any age are stripped off. Sometimes, even the ripening kernels in the pods in the soil may be attacked. Pods of cowpeas and the seeds they contain are also often badly damaged. In tomatoes, larvae bore into the fruit, which is thus rendered unsuitable for consumption. Numerous other crops are attacked, mainly on their leaves.

In Europe, damage caused by S. littoralis was minimal until about 1937. In 1949, there was a catastrophic population explosion in southern Spain, which affected lucerne, potatoes and other vegetable crops. At present, this noctuid is of great economic importance in Cyprus, Israel, Malta, Morocco and Spain (except the north). In Italy, it is especially important on protected crops of ornamentals and vegetables (Inserra and Calabretta, 1985; Nucifora, 1985). In Greece, S. littoralis causes slight damage in Crete on lucerne
and clover only.

In North Africa, tomato, Capsicum, cotton, maize and other vegetables are affected. In Egypt, it is one of the most serious cotton pests.

Detection and Inspection

Top of page Pheromeone traps can be used to monitor the incidence of S. littoralis (Rizk et al., 1990). Kehat and Dunkelblum (1993) found that the minor sex pheromone component, (9Z,12Z)-9,12-tetradecadienyl acetate in addition to the major component (9Z,11Z)-9,11-tetradecadienyl acetate was required for in order to attract males.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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S. littoralis is often confused with S. litura, and the variability and similarity of the two species makes correct identification difficult and examination of adult genitalia is often the only certain method. For more information on morphological discrimination between the adult, pupal and larval stages of the two species, refer to Schmutterer (1969), Cayrol (1972), Mochida (1973) and Brown and Dewhurst (1975).

Although markings on larvae are variable, a bright-yellow stripe along the length of the dorsal surface is characteristic of S. litura.

On dissection of the genitalia, the ductus and ostium bursae are the same length in female S. littoralis, whereas they are different lengths in S. litura. The shape of the juxta in males in both species is very characteristic, and the ornamentation of the aedeagus vesica is also diagnostic.

An EPPO standard provides guidance for the identification of S. littoralis, S. litura, S. frugiperda and S. eridania (OEPP/EPPO, 2015).

Prevention and Control

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Biological Control

Numerous studies have been carried out on possible biological control of S. littoralis. Parasitoids (braconids, encyrtids, tachinids and ichneumonids) and predators have been extensively documented. A nuclear polyhedrosis virus has been evaluated against S. litura (Elnagar and El-Sheikh, 1990; Jones et al., 1994), whereas fungi and microsporidia have also been recorded as pathogens. Parasitic nematodes such as Neoaplectana carpocapsae have also been evaluated. However, direct use of these biocontrol agents has not been commercailized. Treatment with Bacillus thuringiensis has been used (Navon et al., 1983), but only some strains are effective as S. littoralis is resistant to many strains (Salama et al., 1989).

Chemical Control

The chemical control of S. littoralis has been extensively reported, especially in relation to cotton in Egypt. Numerous organophosphorus, synthetic pyrethroids and other insecticides have been used, with appearance of resistance and cross resistance in many cases (Issa et al., 1984a; 1984b; Abo-El-Ghar et al., 1986). However, compulsory limitation of the application of synthetic pyrethroids to one per year on cotton in Egypt has stopped the appearance of new resistance (Sawicki, 1986).

Chemicals used against species of Spodoptera also include insect growth regulators. There is interest, especially in India, in various antifeedant compounds or extracts, and in natural products, such as azadirachtin and neem extracts.

IPM

Integrated pest management techniques, favouring beneficial arthropods, are applied against S. littoralis on cotton in Egypt. These involve hand collection of egg masses, use of microbial pesticides and insect growth regulators and slow-release pheromone formulations for mating disruption. If these measures are taken, relatively few applications of conventional insecticides are necessary (Campion and Nesbitt, 1982; Hosny et al., 1983; Campion and Hosny, 1987). Damage thresholds have been established by Hosny et al. (1986). Pheromones have also been used for mass trapping using a lure and kill strategy (McVeigh and Bettany, 1987) and for monitoring populations. Souka (1980) experimented with irradiation for sterile-insect release, but this technique has not been widely applied in the field.

Phytosanitary Measures

For planting material, EPPO recommends (OEPP/EPPO, 1990) absence of the pests from the place of production during the last 3 months, or treatment of the consignment. For cut flowers, pre-export inspection is considered sufficient.

Cold storage of chrysanthemum and carnation cuttings for at least 10 days at a temperature not exceeding 1.7°C will kill all stages of S. littoralis, but may damage the plants. Storage at slightly higher temperatures or shorter durations does not eradicate S. littoralis, but differences in response to cold have been observed both between strains and within developmental stages of the pest (Powell and Gostick, 1971; Miller, 1976). Irradiation has been investigated as a treatment for cut flowers (Navon et al., 1988). For cut chrysanthemum flowers, Wang and Lin (1984) suggest enclosing buds in perforated polythene bags to exclude the pest and dipping the cut stems in insecticide solutions.
 

References

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Hosny MM, Topper CP, Moawad GM, El-Saadany GB, 1986. Economic damage thresholds of Spodoptera littoralis (Boisd.) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) on cotton in Egypt. Crop Protection, 5(2):100-104

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