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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

golden twin-spot moth (Chrysodeixis chalcites)

Host plants / species affected
Anethum graveolens (dill)
Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)
Brassica oleracea var. botrytis (cauliflower)
Brassica oleracea var. capitata (cabbage)
Brassica spp.
Brassicaceae (cruciferous crops)
Capsicum annuum (bell pepper)
Chrysanthemum indicum (chrysanthemum)
Cucumis sativus (cucumber)
Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus (globe artichoke)
Dianthus (carnation)
Echium vulgare ((common) viper's-bugloss)
Ficus benjamina (weeping fig)
Ficus carica (fig)
Ficus elastica (rubber plant)
Fragaria (strawberry)
Glycine max (soyabean)
Gossypium herbaceum (short staple cotton)
Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke)
Hippeastrum hybrids (amaryllis)
Lactuca sativa (lettuce)
Lycopersicon pennellii
Marrubium (horehound)
Medicago sativa (lucerne)
Musa (banana)
Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco)
Pelargonium (pelargoniums)
Phaseolus (beans)
Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean)
Salvia officinalis (common sage)
Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)
Solanum tuberosum (potato)
Stachytarpheta jamaicensis (Jamaica vervain)
Teucrium scorodonia (wood germander)
Tradescantia zebrina (wandering jew)
Trifolium repens (white clover)
Triticum aestivum (wheat)
Urtica dioica (stinging nettle)
Zea mays (maize)
List of symptoms/signs
Fruit  -  external feeding
Leaves  -  external feeding
Leaves  -  frass visible
Leaves  -  leaves rolled or folded
Leaves  -  webbing
Whole plant  -  external feeding
Whole plant  -  frass visible

White to pale green and shiny. Dome-shaped with 28 to 32 vertical ribs from the micropyle to the base (Bretherton, 1983; Goodey, 1991).


Mature larvae are 34 to 38 mm long, pale yellow-green with a glassy green to grey head edged with a black streak. Above the spiracles on each side of the body is a thin dark green or black line stretching from the head to the seventh abdominal segment, below this is a thicker white line from the head to the tip of the anal proleg. Spiracles are black. The ventral region is speckled with white dots (Haggett, 1980; Bretherton, 1983; Passoa, 1995; Porter, 1997). Larvae have only three pairs of prolegs, instead of the normal five, resulting in the looping gait giving rise to some of the common names.

Haggett (1980) provides a detailed description and colour illustration of the final larval instar.


The pupa is 20 mm long, black in a white cocoon which turns brown then black (Harakly and Farag, 1975; Bretherton, 1983; Sannino et al. 1988).


The adult wingspan is approximately 40 mm. The forewing is 15-17 mm, usually gold, although some individuals have more of a bronze colour. There are two oval silver spots on the forewing although in some individuals these are united. The hindwing is more pale. There are two prominent crests on the thorax (Pinhey, 1979; Bretherton, 1983; Passoa, 1995).
Prevention and control

Pyrethroids such as cypermethrin or deltamethrin can give control of C. chalcites. Bassi et al. (2000) reported effective control of C. chalcites using indoxacarb (an oxadiazine) on vegetable crops in open fields and plastic houses in Italy. Misappropriate use of chemicals can lead to the development of resistance.

The insect growth regulator cyromazine, gave good control of second- and fourth-instar larvae of C. chalcites in glasshouses on tomatoes, lettuce and ornamentals when applied as a foliar spray (Veire and Degheele, 1994).

Different strains of Bacillus thuringiensis gave full control (100% efficacy) of C. chalcites when sprayed on tomatoes grown under net protection or in non-heated greenhouses in Sicily, Italy (Vacante et al., 2001). B. thuringiensis var. kurstaki is used to control C. chalcites in Israel (Broza and Sneh, 1994).

Toguebaye and Bouix (1983) demonstrated that the entomopathogenic fungus Nosema manierae can kill C. chalcites larvae in a few days.

Pheromone trapping has been used in field experiments in Israel. The most effective lure was found to be a mixture of 1 mg (Z)-7-dodecenyl acetate and 0.2 mg (Z)-9-tetradecenyl acetate absorbed on rubber septa (Dunkelblum et al., 1981). Pheromone trapping has been tried in glasshouses in the Netherlands but has not proved successful (Bos, 1983).

There are reports of natural enemies providing some control in protected conditions. The natural enemies predate or parasitize eggs and larvae. In Italian glasshouses the predatory pentatomid heteropterans Podisus maculiventris and P. nigrispinus both from North America have been tested as control agents (Vacante et al., 1996). In the UK, under controlled conditions the endoparasitic braconid Meteorus gyrator showed considerable potential as a biocontrol agent against C. chalcites. Parasitized larvae showed an 80% reduction in the weight of tomato leaf-tissue eaten although this level of control was not shown under less controlled, commercial conditions (Bell et al., 2000). Research has shown that because the eggs are laid singly and widely apart, parasitization and predation cannot progress efficiently. However, there has been some success. For example, Pizzol et al. (1997) released 7000 Trichogramma evanescens in 800 m² of a tomato crop grown under glass in France, on three occasions, 15 days apart. This action resulted in 82% of C. chalcites eggs being parasitized. In the Cape Verde Islands, the solitary endoparasitoid Cotesia marginiventris was introduced with some success for the control of C. chalcites in the field (Lobo Lima and Harten, 1985).

It is not only invertebrates that can be used as natural control agents. Linden (2000) describes an experiment where Alcippe brunnea, a bird found in dense forest undergrowth in India, successfully controlled C. chalcites on sweet peppers grown in glasshouses in the Netherlands.

C. chalcites is a polyphagous polyvoltine species that feeds on the foliage and fruit of vegetable, fruit and ornamental crops. It is considered as one of the most serious lepidopteran pests in many countries although quantitative data measuring damage is lacking.

C. chalcites is the major pest of tomato in Israel during the growing season (Broza and Sneh, 1994) causing considerable damage to the leaves and vegetative parts of the plant although it does not bore into the fruit (Harakly and Farag, 1975). In Israel it is also one of the most important noctuid pests of fodder crops such as lucerne and clover (Avidov and Harpaz, 1969). It also feeds on lucerne, maize and soyabean in Spain (Amate et al., 1998). In northern Italy, C. chalcites is one of the principal arthropod pests on soyabean (Zandigiacomo, 1990); it also attacks fields of artichokes (Ippolito and Parenzan, 1985). In Egypt, C. chalcites is considered as the most serious of all semi-looper pests attacking field fruit and vegetables. It is a serious pest of potato in Mauritius (Anon., 1984).

In protected cultivation, C. chalcites can occur at any time of the year (Linden, 1996) where it can reach high levels of infestation on vegetables and ornamental plants. It is reported as a serious pest in Bulgaria and Turkey (Loginova, 1992; Uygun and Ozgur, 1980) affecting tomato, cucumber and peppers. C. chalcites is one of the four main noctuid pests of glasshouse crops in Sicily (Inserra and Calabretta, 1985) and a continual pest in glasshouses in the Netherlands (Vos and Rutten, 1995) and Belgium (Veire, 1983).
Summary of invasiveness
Although C. chalcites has been recorded in northern Europe, winter mortality prevents its long-term establishment out of doors. However, it has been able to extend its natural distribution into northern Europe by establishing in glasshouses. This can be considered as a type of invasiveness.
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