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Classification and host plants
Species: S. littoralis (Boisduval)
“Phytopathology, agricultural entomology and applied biology” – M.Ferrari, E.Marcon, A.Menta; School edagricole - RCS Libri spa
Host plants: Cotton, vegetable crops (Solanaceae), Corn and flowers in general.
Identification and damage
Spodoptera littoralis is a very polyphagous noctua and widespread in particular in the Mediterranean regions, both Italian and North African. In our northern regions it has spread, in recent years, in protected crops, moving in the open field towards late spring and summer. The adults (30-40 mm wingspan) are butterflies with grayish-brown front wings; the livery is completed by brownish and whitish designs placed transversely, more intense at the distal margin. The hind wings are whitish.
The larvae, like many other night birds, can take on different colors ranging from grayish to greenish-yellow. They also have longitudinal, yellowish or greenish streaks, and black and yellow spots on the sides of the body; the black spots are particularly evident both towards the ventral region and towards the dorsal one, where they take on the appearance of real spots. The damage is caused by the larvae and manifests itself on the leaves, flowers and fruits. The leaves have the most marked erosions; however, even on the fruits, superficial erosions are the cause of loss of the product.
Spodoptera littoralis overwinters in the chrysalis stage in the ground.
The adults, in their environments, flicker in early spring, March-April, and mate. Subsequently they lay on the vegetation, originating a series of generations whose number is very varied and depends on the environments and migration phenomena, also characteristic of this night.
Cotton Nottua adult - Spodoptera littoralis (Boisduval) (photo www.ppis.moag.gov.il)
Larva of Nottua of cotton - Spodoptera littoralis (Boisduval) (photo www.forestryimages.org)
The fight against Spodoptera littoralis follows the same criteria already expressed for Heliothis armigera; treatments are performed at the first appearance of adult populations, in the presence of ovaries or small larvae. The more timely the intervention, that is, the more it is at the beginning of the hatching of the eggs, the better the results will be. It is also possible to activate biological control interventions using Bacillus thuringiensis ssp. kurstaki. Adult monitoring is performed with funnel traps installed in late winter-early spring.