Millets and Maize | Helicoverpa armigera
Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner, 1808); Common Name: Sorghum earhead caterpillar
Taxonomy Information
Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Arthropoda
Class
Insecta
Order
Lepidoptera
Superfamily
Noctuoidea
Family
Noctuidae
Subfamily
Heliothinae
Genus
Helicoverpa
Species
armigera
Author
(Hübner, 1808)
Field Identification

The forewings are yellowish to orange in females and greenish-gray in males, with a slightly darker transversal band in the distal third. The external transversal and submarginal lines and the reniform spot are diffused. The hind wings are a pale yellow with a narrow brown band at the external edge and a dark round spot in the middle. The eggs are spherical, white and later later become greyish. The larvae are of variable colour but mostly greenish and yellow to red-brown. The head is yellow with several spots. Three dark stripes extend along the dorsal side and one yellow light stripe is situated under the spiracles on the lateral side. The ventral parts of the larvae are pale. They are rather aggressive, occasionally carnivorous and even cannibalise each other.

Damage

The larvae feed on foliage and enter fruiting bodies when mature. The blooms that have been attacked may open prematurely and stay fruitless. Injury to the growing tips of plants may disturb their development, maturity may be delayed and the fruits may be dropped.

Key Natural Enemies

Trichogramma pretiosum, T. Perkinsi, Chelonus blackburni, Eucelatoria bryani, Bracon kirkpatricki, Cotesia marginiventris, Glabrobracon croceipes, Cotesia kazak, Hyposoter didymator, Bacillus thuringiensis, Helicoverpa armigera nuclear polyhedrosis virus (HaNPV), Nomuraea rileyi, EPN, etc.

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