EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 03 - 2004 Num. article: 2004/050

Details on the situation of Spodoptera littoralis in Italy

In Italy, the first significant outbreaks of Spodoptera littoralis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae – EPPO A2 list) were reported in 1968, near Ragusa in Sicilia. For the next 20 years, the pest remained confined to limited areas, but it then started to spread within the south of Italy (Mezzogiorno) and costal areas. Today, it is considered that it has invaded the main horticultural regions, especially in southern Italy. It has encountered favourable conditions in many coastal areas where agriculture is intensive and frequently conducted in protected environments. So far, serious outbreaks on vegetable and ornamentals crops have been observed in: Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Lazio, Liguria, Molise, Puglia, Sicilia. Although, S. littoralis larval populations are naturally controlled by nuclear polyhedrosis virus, there is a general lack of predators or parasitoids. Other factors such as: increase of protected crops, low susceptibility or resistance of larvae to conventional chemical treatments, excessive use of fertilizers and the biological characteristics of S. littoralis (high reproductive potential, high mobility of adults, polyphagy…) have contributed to its dispersal in Italy. Eradication of S. littoralis is not considered feasible and further studies on appropriate control strategies are needed.


Sannino, L. (2003) Spodoptera littoralis in Italia: possibili ragioni della crescente diffusione e mezzi di lotta.
Informatore Fitopatologico, no. 6, 28-31.