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Army worm

Armyworm / Ear cutting caterpillar: Mythimna separata Walker

                                                        Lepidoptera : Noctuidae

Kannada name : Tene kattarisuva hulu

Vernacular name : Sainika Hulu

It is a sporadic pest, during years of heavy rainfall. The larvae are gregarious in habit and are commonly known as armyworm.

Period of occurrence Panicle Initiation to Earhead stage

Extent of yield loss: 60%

Alternate hosts: Weeds (Echinocloa colona, Eleusine coracana)

Damaging stage of the insect: Caterpillar

Factors favouring insect damage:

  • Presence of many alternate hosts
  • Periods of drought followed by heavy rains
  • Dryland and wetland fields

Pest description: 

Eggs: In overlapping rows between leaf sheath and stem.

Larva: The caterpillar is long and greenish black with longitudinal pale stripes

Pupa: The pupa is 13.0 to 20.0 mm long. It is dark brown.

Adult: Stout and red brown in colour.

         The insect completes two generations during July to December.

Damage symptoms:

  • Early instar larvae skeletonise the leaves whereas later instar larvae are voracious feeders on leaves during night.


            Panicles are cut off from the base (IRRI)                            Fed upon leaf blades (IRRI)

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