Cabbage Looper, Trichoplusia ni (Hbn.)

PLANTS ATTACKED: Legume crops.

DESCRIPTION: Adult. A grayish-brown moth with a wing-spread of about 1 1/2 inches. Each front wing has a silvery spot resembling a figure 8 near the middle.

Larva. The looping caterpillar is green and has a noticeable white line on each side of its body. It has three pairs of fleshy prolegs. The overall length of a mature worm is slightly more than I inch. The body is smooth and tapers from the tail to the head.

LIFE HISTORY: Many small, round, greenish-white eggs are laid singly on the upper surface of young and tender foliage. The egg superficially resembles the corn earworm egg. The larva feeds on the foliage for 2 to 4 weeks and then spins a flimsy cocoon, usually on the lower leaf surface of the host plant, in which it pupates. The cocoon is so thin that the pupa can be seen inside. This stage lasts about 2 weeks. Usually there are more than four generations in the South.

DAMAGE: The worms feed on the undersides of leaves, producing ragged holes. With the exception of occasional outbreaks, this insect is not considered a serious pest on forage crops in general.