The fall armyworm is a species in the order of Lepidoptera and is the larval life stage of a fall armyworm moth. Its scientific name derives from frugiperda, which is Latin for lost fruit, named because of the species’ ability to destroy crops. The FAW originates from the tropical regions of the United States, Argentina, and the Caribbean region and is a serious pest of maize in Brazil and other countries. The South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) received reports of an unknown armyworm damaging maize plants on farms in the Limpopo and North West provinces. A taxonomist at the ARCPPRI, Biosystematics Division positively identified the male moth specimens collected, as the Fall Armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda (JE Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae).

Click here for a fact sheet on the fall armyworm. – ARC

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