Cluster Caterpillar

Cluster Caterpillar (Spodoptera litura) attacks many horticultural crops. Egg masses are laid on leaves, which the young larvae feed, while older larvae may feed on flowers and pods. Risk is greatest during podding and flowering period. Young larvae ‘cluster’ together and are translucent green with a darker thorax. Middle-sized larvae are variable in colour, smooth-skinned with a pattern of red, yellow and green lines, a dark patch on the hump behind the head and dark spots along each side. Large larvae are initially brown with three thin pale lines down the back: one in the middle and one on each side. They have a row of black dots along each side, and a row of conspicuous dark half-moons along the back. Final instar larvae are dark and can exceed 50 mm in length.