University of Florida

Armyworm, Southern

Spodoptera eridania

  • Adult: front wing streaked with cream, gray, light brown and black and spanning approximately 1 1/2 in., hind wing white with some dark on margins.
  • Egg: large masses of 100-200 eggs covered with moth body scales, found on underside of leaves, hatch in 3 days.
  • Larva: dark caterpillars, 2 in. long at maturity, head yellowish brown, yellowish line along side interrupted by a large dark spot on first abdominal segment, large larvae have 2 rows of dark triangles on dorsal surface, larval stage lasts 14-21 days.
  • Pupa: brown pupa, found in soil, adult emerges in 7 days.
  • Generation Time: 28-35 days.
  • Damage: young larvae feed on under surface of leaflets leaving upper epidermis intact ("windowpaned"). Older larvae consume foliage and eat large holes in fruit. Common pest in south and central Florida.

Southern Armyworm Picture

Southern Armyworm larva
Image #5.

a) Southern armyworm larva, with yellow stripe on side of body interrupted by black spot on first abdominal segment, feeds gregariously after hatching from egg mass and is most abundant armyworm in southern Florida;

feeding damage on fruit can occur anywhere on fruit and can result in secondary rot.