Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Cotton semi-looper (398)

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  • Worldwide distribution. Present in most Pacific island countries. Hosts are bele, cotton, okra, tomato, ornamentals and weeds (mostly Malvaceae).
  • Damage: larvae eat leaves, buds, bolls (cotton), sometimes defoliating entire plant.
  • Eggs laid singly; long green larvae, seven faint white lines (dots or broken lines) along body, and yellowish bands between segments. Only four pairs of prolegs. Adults have brown wings with gold patch near body.
  • Natural enemies: tachinid flies, wasps, fungi; none reported from Pacific.
  • Cultural control: avoid overlapping crops and new next to old; crop rotation (3 months); apply manures or fertilizers for healthy growth; handpicking; collect and burn debris after harvest.
  • Chemical control: biorational pesticides: (i) botanicals (chillies, neem, derris, pyrethrum); (ii) microbials e.g., spinosad, Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki) against young caterpillars; (iii) synthetic pyrethroids - avoid if possible as they are likely to destroy natural enemies, if present.  
Common Name

Cotton semi-looper, okra caterpillar

Scientific Name

Anomis flava; it was previously known as Cosmophila flava. It is a moth of the Erebidae.

AUTHORS Grahame Jackson & Mani Mua
1Information from Swaine G (1971) Agricultural Zoology in Fiji. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. London; and Arora R et al. Integrated pest management of cotton in Punjab, India. University of Minnesota. (; and from CABI (2018) Anomis flava (cotton semi-looper). Crop Protection Compendium. (

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project HORT/2016/18: Responding to emerging pest and disease threats to horticulture in the Pacific islands, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Pacific Community.

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