Pacific Pests and Pathogens Pacific Pests & Pathogens - Full Size Fact Sheets

Tomato green looper (333) Print Fact Sheet

Common Name

Green looper caterpillar, green garden looper. In Fiji, this has been called the green semi-looper. In this app it is called the "tomato green looper".

Scientific Name

Chrysodeixis eriosoma; the identification of this moth in the Pacific may have been confused with a similar moth, Chrysodeixis chalcites, which in Fiji is listed by Swaine (1971)1 as Plusia chalcites. However, CABI (2014) lists no records of Chrysodeixis chalcites in the Pacific, and quotes (Zang 1994): "Literature referring to C. chalcites (= chalcytes) in southern or eastern Asia or Oceania actually refers to C. eriosoma (Zhang, 1994)". However, the SPC surveys of Federated States of Micronesia and Palau record Chrysodeixis chalcites in Palau and Northern Mariana Islands2.


Worldwide. Asia, North (Hawaii) and South America (Chile), Europe, Oceania. It is recorded from Australia, Fiji1, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga.


Wide. The larvae feed on plants in the daisy (Asteraceae), brassica (Brassicaceae, potato (Solanaceae), cucumber (Cucurbitaceae), legume (Fabaceae) and corn (maize) (Poaceae) families, and many more. Many ornamentals and weeds in these families are hosts, too. In Fiji, it is a pest on tomato, dwarf beans and cocoa seedlings in the nursery.

Symptoms & Life Cycle

Larvae eat holes in leaves and shallow pits in fruits. Early larval stages do not eat all the way though the leaves, creating 'windows'; later stages make holes in the leaves, and, when numerous, defoliate plants and damage flowers and fruits.

Eggs are laid singly or in batches on the underside of leaves. The larvae are up to 40 mm long, blue-green, with several narrow white lines along their bodies. As they have only two prolegs on the abdomen, they move by looping (Photo 1). Pupation is within a silken cocoon spun by the larvae attached to objects in the soil, on the underside of leaves, or the folded edges (Photo 2). The adult is dark grey-brown, with silvery patches on the forewings and two white spots, and a wingspan of 30-40 mm (Photos 3-5). On the head, there are bunched hairs which look like a pair of short horns.


The moth is considered a serious pest in several countries - Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, US (Hawaii).

Detection & Inspection

Look for the larvae on the upper and lower surfaces of leaves. Look for damage, such as leaves with "windows", holes through the leaves, or leaves eaten at the margins. On tomatoes look for holes in the fruits.


A number of parasitoids have been reported, and two Copidosoma floridanum (encyrtid) and Cortesia rufricrus (braconid), imported into New Zealand with good results. Copidosoma truncatellus gives as high at 85% parasitism in Hawaii. In Hawaii, too, nuclear polyhedrosis virus is known to infect larvae of this moth.

Recommendations for brassicas are the same as those provided for other moths that form part of the cabbage caterpillar complex, i.e., diamond back moth, cabbage heart-centre caterpillar, cabbage webworm (see Fact Sheets nos. 20, 78, 114). These suggestions can be used to guide growers when planting other crops.

Before (field) planting:

During growth:

After harvest:


AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
1Information from Swaine G (1971) Agricultural Zoology in Fiji. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. London; and CABI (2014) Chrysodeixis eriosoma (green looper caterpillar) Crop Protection Compendium. (; and Chrysodeixis eriosoma (Doubleday) (1991) Crop Knowledge Master Department of Entomology, Honolulu, Hawaii. (, and from 2Nafus DM (1997) An insect survey of the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau. South Pacific Commission, New Caledonia. Photo 1 Courtesy of Don Herbison-Evans, Macleay Museum, University of Sydney. ( Photo 2 Merlin Crossley, UNSW, Sydney. Photo 3 Chrysodeixis eriosoma. Wikipedia. ( Photos 4&5 MAF Plant Health & Environment Laboratory (2011) Green Garden Looper (Chrysodeixis eriosoma). PaDIL -(

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

This fact sheet is a part of the app Pacific Pests and Pathogens

The mobile application is available from the Google Play Store and Apple iTunes.

Pacific Pests and Pathogens Android Edition      Pacific Pests and Pathogens iOS Edition            Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research