The native budworm (Helicoverpa punctigera) caterpillars (larvae) are very small and are often easily missed when inspecting a crop. When first hatched, they are about 1.5 mm long with dark brown heads and white bodies. During full development they will pass through six or seven growth stages or instars, until they are 35 to 40 mm long. When fully grown, their colour ranges from green, yellow, buff, red or brown to almost black, with a broad yellow-white stripe down each side of the body and a dark stripe down the centre of the back. The skin of the caterpillars appears rough to touch, due to long, dark hairs on prominent bumps on the body surface. It also attacks most oilseed crops, cotton, some vegetables, particularly tomato and sweet corn, and various pasture species such as clover and lucerne. The most notable damage by native budworm is on the pods and seeds.