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Fall Armyworm: Summary of FAO Bangkok Meeting
As members will know, the FAO held a Fall Armyworm in Asia: Consultative Meeting in Bangkok 20-22 March 2019.

John Wightman was invited to attend the meeting based on his extensive experience dealing with Spodoptera litura and other noctuids. He has very kindly sent PestNet his summary of this important meeting, and I am attaching it here.



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potineni Kalidas [pestnet] 

Any proposal for conducting such meeting on Rugose Spiraling Whitefly which is also causing havoc to the farming community in India? 

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Dear Kalidas I have not heard of any meeting on the Rugose spiralling whitefly. Can you give us some background on the pest. I will make an enquiry with FAO and see what the situation is if you send more info. And please use the new system I refer to my message of last week. This will save me having to post to 2 systems! Pestnet Yahoogroups will close next month., Please go to to view/join. You will find this message there under Fall Armyworm: Summary of FAO Bangkok Meeting Thanks and best wishes grahame
I am wondering if our taro pest: Spodoptera litura (so-called "armyworm" in most Pacific countries), is different from "FAW" in Africa and Asia.

This pest has been around in Tonga Islands, for years. Outbreaks occur mostly during El Nino years.

Anybody, please enlighten me.

Thank you.

Sione Foliaki
Ministry of Agriculture, food and Forests 
Nuku'alofa,  TONGA ISLANDS. 

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potineni Kalidas [pestnet] <>

I have reported similar pest feeding on oil palm leaves in India. it was published in The Planter, Malaysia. It was identified as Sylvanus spp. It was also found feeding on the leaves particularly the tips.

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From: Graham Walker <>

Hi Sione

Yes, Spodoptera litura in Tonga and other countries in SPC countries is different to FAW (Spodoptera frugiperda). S. litura attacks more leafy vegetables and is a major pest of brassicas, taro, alliums, etc. (as we know in Fiji). In SE Asia (where I work now) we have S. litura and also Spodoptera exigua, called beet armyworm, attacking beets, solanums and allium crops. The key difference I understand is that FAW prefers maize/corn and grasses. Their life cycles, behaviour and controls are similar. In Cambodia and Vietnam we recommend scouting vegetable crops and squashing egg masses and masses of small caterpillars that are gregarious, and control the armyworm caterpillars before they grow large and cause serious damage. Also in north Cambodia we have Spodoptera mauritia, called paddy swarming armyworm, that prefers grasses, attacking corn/maize but also attacks rice crops.
 So, FAW will be the 4th Spodoptera pest species in SE Asia. So, Tonga is lucky so far. I endorse John Wightman’s comments on control. A difference in SE Asia and SPC countries is that the vegetable crop sizes are so small that scout and squash can be quite successful. Hope useful.
Graham Walker
IPM Scientist (Entomology)International Development & Aid,
T: +64 9 925 3522
M: +64 272083077
The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited
Postal Address: Plant & Food Research
Private Bag 92169, Auckland Mail Centre, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Physical Address: Plant & Food Research
120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham, Auckland 1025, New Zealand

Thank You Graham Walker, You just enlighten my limited knowledge on these pest vast differences. Just note, I was confused due to most communications on FAW gave the species ID as S. Litura, instead of S. frugiperda as you clarifies. Once again, Malo aupito. And I wishing you the BEST during your assignment in SEA. Best Regards, Sione Foliaki
From: agrban <>
Subject: RE: [pestnet] Summary FAO meeting on fall armyworm

Dear all,

In addition to Graham Walker’s information on three Spodoptera pest species in Cambodia and Vietnam, it can be noted that all of them are also present in Thailand. While S. litura and S. exigua are highly polyphagous on many economic crops, S. mauritia is more or less restricted to rice seedlings in Thailand.

But there is also a useful Spodoptera pectinicornis or the water lettuce moth which is an effective biocontrol agent of water lettuce. It is widely distributed in the South and Southeast Asian countries.

The moth was originally described as Proxinus hennia and later became Namangana pectinicornis then Episammia pectinicornis and currently it is Spodoptera pectinicornis. I do not know what it will be next? Personally and untaxonomically, I wish it should not be placed under Spodoptera which is more pestiferous rather than being a beneficial

biocontrol agent for water lettuce.