This species is extremely polyphagous and attacks a wide range of crops, including maize, raspberry, strawberry and many ornamentals. The larvae attack buds, leaves, flowers and fruits, and can be very damaging. The pest is of African origin and, in northern Europe, is most harmful on protected crops.
All stages of this pest may be found throughout the year. However, it tends to occur in two main generations, with adults flying in sunny weather from May to June and from August to September. Eggs are laid on leaves in large, green, scalelike batches. They hatch 2-3 weeks later. The larvae feed voraciously, often sheltering in spun leaves, but the rate of development varies considerably depending on temperature. Pupation occurs in a folded leaf or amongst other shelter, and adults emerge shortly afterwards. Outdoors, this species usually overwinters as small larvae.
Adult female 18-22 mm wingspan; forewings pale orange-brown, reticulated with darker
brown; hindwings mainly orange. Adult male 12-17 mm wingspan; forewings orange-brown, with reddish-brown and blackish markings; hindwings orange with a blackish border (Fig. 286). Larva up to 20 mm long; body olive-green to bright green; pinacula pale green but inconspicuous; head yellowish-green or yellowish-brown, marked with dark brown; prothoracic plate and anal plate green, marked with dark brown; anal comb green, often with six teeth. Pupa 9-12 mm long, brownish-black to black; cremaster long, tapered with eight strong spines (Fig. 283b).
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