Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Vomited detergents wreck ant waterproofing: beet armyworm
 

Vomit of beet armyworms defend against ants by wetting their hydrophobic cuticle using a detergent.

   
  "Insects have evolved an astonishing array of defences to ward off enemies. Well known and widespread is the regurgitation of oral secretion (OS), fluid that repels attacking predators. In herbivores, the effectiveness of OS has been ascribed so far to the presence of deterrent secondary metabolites sequestered from the host plant. This notion implies, however, that generalists experience less protection on plants with low amounts of secondary metabolites or with compounds ineffective against potential enemies. Resolving the dilemma, we describe a novel defence mechanism that is independent of deterrents as it relies on the intrinsic detergent properties of the OS. The OS of Spodoptera exigua (and other species) was found to be highly amphiphilic and well capable of wetting the hydrophobic cuticle of predatory ants. As a result, affected ants stopped attacking and engaged in extensive cleansing. The presence of surfactants was sufficient to explain the defensive character of herbivore OS. We hypothesize that detergency is a common but unrecognized mode of defence, which provides a base level of protection that may or may not be further enhanced by plant-derived deterrents. Our study also proves that insects 'invented' the use of defensive surfactants long before modern agriculture had started applying them as insecticides."
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Rostás, M; Blassmann, K. 2009. Insects had it first: surfactants as a defence against predators. 276(1657): 633-638.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Spodoptera exigua

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 19
Specimens with Barcodes: 287
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Spodoptera exigua

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 5 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CGAAAATGACTATATTCAACAAATCATAAAGATATTGGAACATTATATTTTATTTTTGGAATTTGAGCTGGAATAGTTGGAACTTCATTA---AGATTATTAATTCGAGCTGAATTAGGAACTCCAGGATCTTTAATTGGAGAT---GATCAAATTTATAATACTATTGTAACAGCACATGCTTTTATTATAATTTTCTTTATAGTAATACCTATTATAATCGGAGGATTTGGAAATTGACTTGTCCCATTAATA---TTAGGAGCCCCAGATATAGCTTTCCCACGAATAAATAATATAAGTTTTTGATTATTACCACCTTCTTTAACTTTATTAATTTCAAGAAGAATTGTAGAAAATGGAGCAGGAACTGGATGAACAGTTTACCCCCCACTCTCCTCTAATATTGCCCATGGTGGAAGATCTGTAGATTTA---GCTATTTTTTCTTTACATTTAGCTGGAATTTCTTCTATTTTAGGAGCTATTAATTTTATTACTACTATTATTAATATACGATTAAATAATTTATCATTTGATCAAATACCTTTATTTGTTTGAGCTGTAGGAATTACTGCTTTTTTATTATTACTATCACTACCTGTTTTAGCAGGA---GCTATTACTATATTACTTACAGACCGAAATTTAAATACATCATTCTTTGATCCAGCTGGAGGAGGTGATCCTATTCTTTATCAACATTTATTTTGATTTTTTGG
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Wikipedia

Beet armyworm

The Beet Armyworm or Small Mottled Willow Moth (Spodoptera exigua) is one of the best-known agricultural pest insects. It is also known as the asparagus fern caterpillar, and the adult moth is known in the British Isles (where it is an introduced species and not known to breed) as the small mottled willow. It is native to Asia, but has been introduced worldwide and is now found almost anywhere its many host crops are grown. The voracious larvae are the main culprits. They are greenish-brown cutworms, soft and bulging caterpillars with dark longitudinal stripes. The adult is a drab brown or grey moth 2 to 3 cm in wingspan.

Larva

The larvae feed on the foliage of plants, and can completely defoliate small ones. Smaller larvae devour the parenchyma of leaves, so that all that remains is the thin epidermis and veins. Larger larvae tend to burrow holes through thick areas of plants. For example, they will burrow straight into a head of lettuce rather than neatly removing tissue from one particular leaf. This renders the produce unmarketable. They attack buds and new growth on plants, preventing flowers from opening, new leaves from sprouting, and vegetables from developing. As the smaller larvae move about they leave strands of silk behind, netting the leaves with a silvery film.

Illustration

The wide host range of the beet armyworm includes asparagus, beans and peas, sugar and table beets, celery, cole crops, lettuce, potato, tomato, cotton, cereals, oilseeds, tobacco, many flowers, and a multitude of weed species. .[1] The beet armyworm does not tolerate cold. It can overwinter in warm areas, such as Florida and Hawaii, but in colder areas it dies off during the winter and the region is reinvaded by the adult moth as the weather warms and crop plants sprout.

References[edit]

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