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Chyssodeixis eriosoma (Doubleday) 

Green Garden Looper
Hosts Distribution Damage Biology Behavior Management Reference


Ronald F.L. Mau, Extension Entomologist

Jayma L. Martin Kessing, Educational Specialist

Department of Entomology

Honolulu, Hawaii


Green garden loopers are general feeders. Vegetable crops attacked include basil, cabbage, celery, Chinese pea, corn, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, mint, parsley, peas, potato, spinach, sweet potato, and tomato. Ornamental crops attacked are chrysanthemum, orchid, ti and tropical foliages such as Aglaonema, Diffenbachia, Ficus and Syngonium. An extensive list is reported in Roberts (1979).


The green garden looper has a widespread distribution throughout Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South Europe and the Pacific. This pest was first found in Hawaii on Oahu in 1877, and is now present on all islands.


The caterpillar is the damaging stage of this pest. Young larvae consume only one side of the leaf, leaving a window-like appearance. As the young larvae develop, they chew holes through the leaf. Older caterpillars feed from the leaf margin (Zimmerman, 1958). Caterpillars are also reported to feed on flowers and fruits.


Green garden looper development time varies with climatic conditions; warmer temperatures shorten the duration. In Hawaii the life cycle lasts between 33-35 days. Continuous and overlapping generations occur throughout the year.


Eggs of the green garden looper are flattened, white, hemispheres measuring about 1/50 inch in diameter, with a height about one-half of the diameter. The surface of the eggs is patterned with ridges, similar to that of thimbles, arranged in regular rows. Eggs are deposited singularly on the under surface of leaves, and hatch in about 6 days.


There are usually 6 larval stages. The first larval stages of this insect are small (1/12 inch in length), green caterpillars with black body hairs (setae). Subsequent larval stages are larger but similar in appearance. The full grown caterpillars are light green with faint white stripes running the length of their bodies. Their true legs are often black. The larval period lasts for about 3 weeks depending on food quality and temperature.


The mature larvae spin a thin, white, silken cocoon and pupate within. Cocoons may be attached to objects in the soil, but they are more often on the underside of the leaf or within folded edges of the leaf. Pupae are pale green with a broad brown stripe down the back. Prior to adult emergence the pupae turn brown. Duration of pupal stage is 8 to 11 days.


The wingspan of the adult moths is approximately 1-1/2 inches. Forewings are characterized by purplish brown or bronzish reflections and two defined silvery white marks near the center. Hindwings are yellow gray, darkening towards the edges. Both sexes have a hairy tuft, or brush projecting backward on the tip of the abdomen. Male moths have yellow scent brushes along the abdomen and large black brushes at the rear. Adult females can deposit from 18-281 eggs during their lifespan.


At rest the larvae have an arched appearance. They crawl in a "looping" fashion in which they move by holding on with their front legs, arching the middle portion of their body to bring the hind legs forward, and then extending the front of the body holding on with the hind legs.

Adults emerge from the pupae at dusk or during the night, seldom during day light hours. The adults avoid strong sunlight and are most commonly seen flying at dusk or a few hours after sunset. During the day they rest inside flowers, on the vegetation, or on walls. The adult feeds on flower nectar and honeydew. Adult males are ready to mate soon after emergence; however, females usually wait 1 to 4 days (Harakly, 1975).



Several parasites present in Hawaii contribute to controlling populations of the green garden looper. These parasites include Chaetogaedia monticola (Bigot), Copidosoma truncatellum (Dalman) (which gives as high as 85% parasitism), and Eucelatoria armigera (Coquillett) (Zimmerman, 1958).

Although they have not been reported in Hawaii, several viruses, including a nuclear polyhedrosis virus, are known to infect this insect (Roberts, 1979).


No information available.


Harakly, F. A. 1975. Biological Studies on the Tomato Looper Chrysodeixis chalcytes (Esper) in Egypt. Societe Entomologique D'Egypte Bulletin. 59:295-299.

Hudson, G. V. 1928. Plusia chalcites. pp. 79-80. In The Butterflies and Moths of New Zealand. Ferguson and Osborn, Wellington. 386 pages, 52 color plates.

Roberts, L. I. N. 1979. Biology of Chrysodeixis eriosoma (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in New Zealand. New Zealand Entomologist. 7(1): 52-58.

Swezey, O. H. 1906. Life History Notes and Observations on Three Common Moths. Proc. Hawaiian Entomol. Soc. 1(2): 53-58.

Zimmerman, E. C. 1958. Plusia (Autographa) chalcites (Esper). pp. 370-372. In Insects of Hawaii. A Manual of the Insects of the Hawaiian Islands, Including Enumeration of the Species and Notes on Their Origin, Distribution, Hosts, Parasites, etc. Volume 7. Macrolepidoptera. The University of Hawaii Press; Honolulu. 542 pages.





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