FALL ARMYWORM, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith)
Description PictureDamage
  • adult moths are about 3/4 inch long and 1 1/2 inches
  • across outspread wings
  • male forewings are gray and have irregular white spot near the tip
  • female forewings usually are duller than those of the male
  • hind wings of both sexes have a pinkish-white luster, bordered by a smoky-brown band
  • newly hatched larva has a jet-black head and light body, turning darker when about 3 days old
  • fully grown larva is 1 1/3 inches and varies from light-green to almost black
  • front of head is marked with a prominent inverted Y, but this character is not always reliable identification
  • larvae have three yellowish-white lines down the back from head to tail
  • on each side next to each outer dorsal line is a wider dark stripe below which is an equally wide, wavy, yellow stripe, splotched with red
  • Photo credit: W. L. Sterling, Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University

  • tiny larva begins feeding on its egg shell immediately after hatching, but
  • soon attacks plants near the soil surface
  • larvae grow rapidly and within 2 or 3 days begin devouring plants
  • frequently do considerable damage to corn ears, similar to that caused by corn earworms