Spodoptera frugiperda and Spodoptera littoralis are lepidopterans of the Noctuidae family (moths), whose caterpillars are crop pests. These insects are mostly polyphagous, feeding on several different crops.
S. frugiperda is found in South and Central America, Florida and China. This moth damages mainly on maize, wheat and rice. Variants adapted to any of these host plants have been described.
S. littoralis is found around the Mediterranean basin, in Africa and the Middle East. This moth causes extensive damage to cotton, artichoke, tomato and pepper.
Studies are mainly focused on the identification and analysis of ecological speciation within the genus Spodoptera, on the relationship between genome structure and adaptation to the environment, on the response of these insects to infectious and xenobiotic agents, and on olfactory and taste mechanisms, using genomic and transcriptomic approaches. Better knowledge of the biology, physiology and pathologies of these moths opens up prospects for diversifying the management of crop pests.
Research is ongoing to develop methods for transgenesis and/or gene transfer. The two species are kept in breeding, as well as the parasitoid Hyposoter didymator whose interaction with Spodoptera is being studied from several aspects (molecular physiology, virulence factors, evolution).
Gouin, A., Bretaudeau, A., Nam, K. et al. Two genomes of highly polyphagous lepidopteran pests (Spodoptera frugiperda, Noctuidae) with different host-plant ranges. Sci Rep 7, 11816 (2017).
Kakumani, P. K., Malhotra, P., Mukherjee, S. K. & Bhatnagar, R. K. A draft genome assembly of the army worm. Spodoptera frugiperda. Genomics 104, 134–143, doi:10.1016/j.ygeno.2014.06.005 (2014).