- Widespread distribution. Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania. Sweetpotato main host, but it also occurs on eggplant, capsicum, tomato, and legumes. Occasionally, an important pest.
- Larvae eat young succulent leaves. Eggs are laid singly on the leaves and stems. Outbreaks are not common, although they are devastating when they occur.
- Natural enemies: parasitoid wasps and predators.
- Cultural control: avoid planting next to gardens where outbreaks have occurred; handpicking; use chickens; collect vines and other trash and burn after harvest.
- Chemical control: none recommended for routine treatments, as pesticides will disrupt natural control. For major outbreaks: PDPs: neem, derris, pyrethrum, or chilli; or biopesticides – Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), or spinosad. Synthetic pyrethroids are likely to kill natural enemies.
Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides
Sweetpotato hornworm (027)
Photo 1. Sweet potato hornworm larva, Agrius convolvuli. Note colours range from green, brown to black.
Photo 2. Sweet potato hornworm larva, Agrius convolvuli. Note colours range from green, brown to black.
Sweet potato hornworm, Convolvulus hawk moth
Agrius convolvuli. It is a member of the Sphingidae.
AUTHORS Helen Tsatsia & Grahame Jackson
Information (and Photo 2) from O'Sullivan J et al . Sweetpotato DiagNotes: A diagnostic key and information tool for sweetpotato problems. (http://keys.lucidcentral.org/keys/sweetpotato/key/Sweetpotato%20Diagnotes/Media/Html/FrontPage/FrontPage.htm). Photo 3 Wikipedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agrius_convolvuli).
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.