Fall army worm
(J.E. Smith, 1797)
The fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is part of the order of Lepidoptera and is the caterpillar life stage of a moth. It is regarded as a pest and can wreak havoc with crops if left to multiply. Its name is derived from its feeding habits. They will eat everything in an area and once the food supply is exhausted the entire "army" will move to the next available food source.
The larvae are a dull yellow to gray with stripes running down the length of the body. The mature caterpillar is approximately 1.5 to 2 inches (51 mm) in length.
The armyworm's diet consists mainly of grasses and small grain crops. An infestation is hard to detect as the caterpillars migrate to new feeding areas in the cool of the night. When the caterpillars near maturity, they can lay waste to an entire crop in a few days.
In 1998, Illinois was hard hit by fall armyworms.
- African armyworm (Spodoptera exempta) (Africa)
- Common armyworm or true armyworm (Mythimna unipuncta) (North and South America)
- Northern armyworm, Oriental armyworm or Rice ear-cutting caterpillar (Mythimna separata) (Asia)
- Kathy L. Flanders, Donald M. Ball, Patricia P. Cobb. University of Alabama and Auburn University Extension Office. August 2011. Management of Fall Armyworm in Pastures and Hayfields
- Murúa MG et al. (2009) Natural distribution of parasitoids of larvae of the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, in Argentina Journal of Insect Science 9(20)
- Meagher RL and Nagoshi RN (2004) Population dynamics and occurrence of Spodoptera frugiperda host strains in southern Florida Ecological Entomology 29(5): s 614–620
- Mike Gray, University of Illinois Extension Office. July 10, 1998 Fall Armyworms: Many Southern Illinois Cornfields Are Infested
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