Insecta, Lepidoptera, Noctuidae .
Description, Biology, Life Cycle, Damage, Common Names, Images
- Host plants: the caterpillars can attack a very wide range of cultivated plant species: potato, cereals, tobacco, maize, beet, asparagus, lettuce, onion, chicory, tomato, etc.
- Adult: the moths are nocturnal and can accomplish considerable journeys during the year. In the spring, the species migrates towards the north and becomes scarce in Africa and in hot Mediteranean regions; it returns southwards in autumn. These migrations involve several generations.
In France, the dark sword-grass moth disappears almost totally in winter.
- Eggs: the female lays 1,500 eggs in clusters of 10 to 15, preferably in the most humid zones which have been recently prepared for sowing or spring planting. Embryonic development lasts 4 to 5 days.
- Larva: the caterpillar feeds at night: it nibbles the leaves, the petioles, and the plant neck (*) ; during the day, it hides. Larval growth lasts 45 to 60 days in spring.
- Pupa: the larva pupates in the ground.
- 1 to 2 generations in the north of Europe and France.
- From the end of March to the beginning of May, the adults appear in the south of France, particularly on the Mediterranean coast. The sexually mature females lay eggs and the larval population which results can be harmful. The adults of that generation continue the migration northwards. From the end of July to September, a north-south migration of the adults occurs. A little egg laying can thus occur in the south of the country.
In the event of the invasion of a field by the females of a migrating flight, followed by massive egg laying, the harvest can be totally destroyed by the unpredictable infestation of caterpillars.
HYPPZ on line : Species (scientific name), Pests (common names), Glossary, Crops.