Tobacco cutworm

Spodoptera litura

''Spodoptera litura'', otherwise known as the tobacco cutworm or cotton leafworm, is a nocturnal moth in the Noctuidae family. ''S. litura'' is a serious polyphagous pest in Asia, Oceania, and the Indian subcontinent that was first described by Johan Christian Fabricius in 1775. Its common names reference two of the most frequent host plants of the moth. In total, 87 species of host plants that are parasitized by ''S. litura'' are of economic importance. The species parasitize the plants through the larvae's vigorous eating patterns, oftentimes leaving the leaves completely destroyed. The moth's effects are quite disastrous, destroying economically important agricultural crops and decreasing yield in some plants completely. Their potential impact on the many different cultivated crops, and subsequently the local agricultural economy, has led to serious efforts to control the pests.

''S. litura'' is often confused with its close relative, ''Spodoptera littoralis''. These two species are hard to discriminate between because the larvae and adult forms are identical. Inspecting the genitalia is the most certain way to tell the two species apart.