Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

African armyworm
Spodoptera exempta (Walker, 1856)

Family: Noctuidae
Identification: The adult moth has dull gray-brown forewings and off-white hindwings with visible veins.[9] Females and males can be distinguished by the number of bristles on their frenulum, where males have a single bristle while females have multiple. Females are also identifiable due to their racquet-shaped abdomen tip and black scales.
Wing Span: 2.0-3.7 cm
Life History:
Caterpillar Hosts: Larvae feed almost exclusively on Poaceae, also called Gramineae. Poaceae is a family of flowering grasses which includes cereal grasses and the grasses of grasslands and pastures.[1] The species targets most cereal crops, including maize, sorghum, rice, millet, and other grasses.[11] Young caterpillars are also known to feed on wheat and oat seedlings.
Adult Food:
Range: Commonly found in the grasslands of Africa and Asia. Within Africa, it is mostly seen near the Sahara in the following countries: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa. Outside of Africa, the species also inhabits southwest Saudi Arabia, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
Management Needs:

Pollinator Week is June 20-26, 2022!

Butterflies and moths are accidental pollinators of many flowering plants. While most species do not have special structures to carry pollen, they do brush against pollen and transfer it to other flowers.

Did you know? The Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) flies close to the ground and uses its short proboscis to probe flowers of wild strawberry, white sweet clover, and other low-lying plants.