Distribution. This native insect is found throughout North and South America, including Hawaii. It is relatively infrequent, however, in western Canada and the northwestern United States. Apparently it cannot overwinter in northern latitudes and reinvades the northern United States and southern Canada each summer.
Host Plants. Bilobed looper is reported to feed on several families of plants, but only a few crops are affected. Among vegetables crops eaten are bean, cabbage, and lettuce. Other crops accepted include alfalfa, clover, and tobacco, as well as some ornamental plants such as geranium, gladiolus, ivy, and salvia. Weeds consumed include hedge nettle, Stachys sp.; sunflower, Helianthus sp.; vervain, Verbena sp.; and yellow thistle, Cirsium horridulum.
Natural Enemies. The natural enemies of bilobed looper are unknown.
Life Cycle and Description. Adults, eggs, and larvae have been found during the period of January-June in Florida, with most larvae observed in late spring (Martin et al., 1981a). Presumably they disperse northward during the spring and summer months.
Bilobed looper larva.
nearby vegetation. Pupae of bilobed looper are variable in color, usually mottled black with irregular tan or light green areas. Pupation requires about 6, 9, and 15 days at 30°, 25°, and 20°C, respectively. (See color figure 266.)
Adult. The wingspan of the bilobed looper moth measures about 4 cm. The forewing is irregularly marked with pale-brown to medium-brown, and a silver bilobed spot is located near the center of the wing. The hind wing is gray to tan basally and darker brown distally. The prereproductive period of the adult is estimated at 2-4 days, and the reproductive period at 5-6 days. Adults often mate more than once. Total egg production is about 500 eggs per female. Adult longevity is estimated at 8.5 days for males and 10.0 days for females. (See color figure 227.)
Developmental biology and rearing information were provided by Beach and Todd (1988). Adult and larval descriptions, and keys to differentiate bilobed looper from related species, were provided by Eichlin and Cunningham (1978), Crumb (1956), Capinera and Schaefer (1983), and Capinera (1986). Bilobed looper was also included in the key to vegetable-atttacking loopers in Appendix A.
Bilobed looper is a defoliator, and mature larvae can consume considerable quantities of foliage during the final days of larval life. However, it rarely is sufficiently abundant to be cause for concern.
Moth populations can be monitored with blacklight traps. A sex pheromone component that attracts numerous noctuids in the subfamily Plusiinae, cis-7-dodecenyl acetate, also is attractive to bilobed looper
(Roelofs and Comeau, 1970). Larvae are readily controlled with foliar applications of insecticides, including Bacillus thuringiensis.
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