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Helicoverpa armigera (H³bner)
Heliothis armigera, Heliothis zea, Heliothis obsoleta

Insecta, Lepidoptera, Noctuidae .

Tomato fruitworm, Old World bollworm

Description, Biology, Life Cycle, Damage, Common Names, Images

- Adult: fore wings are yellowish to orange in females and greenish-grey in males, with a slightly darker transversal band in the distal third. The kidney-shaped marking is slightly distinct and smoky. Hind wings are pale grey with a broad, darker marginal band and a small brown marking near the base (*) .
- Egg: about 5 mm, white to yellowish, brownish at hatching.
- Larva: when fully developed, measures 30 to 40 mm long.
The head capsule is brown, as are the and anal plates.
The body is marked with thin, dark dorsal bands, bordered with lighter bands. The two light, sinuous bands on which the darker spiracles stand out, are very characteristic. Background colour is greenish or yellowish, or blackish-brown (*) (*) .
- Pupa: 2 cm long, brown in colour. The cremaster bears two long parallel spines.

- This polyphagous moth is one of the principal enemies of cotton and maize.
In Mediterranean regions, it frequently attacks vegetable plants: tomato, artichoke, Leguminoseae, Cucurbitaceae, as well as tobacco, pink (Dianthus) and conifers.
- The caterpillar tends to be aggressive; it is carnivorous and subject to cannibalism. In temperate regions, it overwinters as a pupa buried several cm in the soil.
- Adults appear in April-May and can be observed until October because of the long migration period.
Females lay several hundred eggs on all parts of the plant, flowers and fruits included (*) .
- Eggs may hatch in less than 3 days at an optimum temperature of 27-28°C.

[R]Life Cycle
- The life-cycle lasts slighly more than a month.
In Italy, 2 to 4 generations are occur in a year.

The most severe damage is caused by the attack on reproductive parts such as flower buds and flower heads, capsules (*) , berries, and maize influorescences.
When still very young and small, the caterpillars burrow deep into tomatoes and are overlooked in peeled fruits intended for canning, thus causing a high rate of commercial losses.
Berries are usually three-quarters hollowed out from the outside.
In Leguminoseae, flowers are attacked and seed pods pierced.

Found practically worldwide, it is one of the major pests in tropical and subtropical regions.

[R]Common Names
DE: Baumwollkapselwurm ES: Oruga del tomate, Heliotis del tomate FR: Noctuelle de la tomate IT: Nottua del pomodoro PT: Lagarta do tomate GB: Tomato fruitworm, Old World bollworm

[R] Images

  1. Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) (Coutin R. / OPIE)
  2. Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) (Coutin R. / OPIE)
    Larva on tomato
  3. Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) (Coutin R. / OPIE)
    Larva on ear of sorghum
  4. Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) (BASF)

To read this page in French

HYPPZ on line : Species (scientific name), Pests (common names), Glossary, Crops.

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