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Tobacco Caterpillar


(Spodoptera litura)
Tobacco Caterpillar

Adult moth : Light brown with dark spotted wings; Larvae : colour varies depending on feed crop. Pupa is dark brown.

Life Cycle

Life Cycle : Eggs (up to 2000 per female), covered in scales, laid in masses of 100-300 on underside of leaves. Larvae hatch in 3-5 days and feed for about 28 days. Pupation occurs in soil and adults emerge after about 9 days. 6-8 generations are completed in a year.


The prime defoliator of a variety of crops including tobacco, beetroot, cabbage, castor, cauliflower, chilies, cotton, grapes, groundnut, lucerne, potato, etc. The early instar larvae feed voraciously on the undersurfaces of leaves, leading to their skeletonisation. They also feed on flower buds, flowers, calyx, squares and bolls. In later instars, they disperse, become solitary and nocturnal.