Looper Control in Your Garden

Lepidoptera : Geometridae and Noctuidae

Loopers are the larvae (caterpillars) of various moth species. The larvae are called ‘loopers’ because of the way they move. Larvae grip the surface with their forelegs and arch their back as they move their hind legs up to just behind their forelegs, creating the ‘loop’. Taking a firm grip with their hind legs, they reach forward and start the process again, inching forward as they do.

Loopers that may cause problems in the garden include:

  • Twig Looper (Ectropis excursaria) and Apple Looper (Phrissogonus laticostata) from the family Geometridae
  • Green Looper (Chrysodeixis eriosoma), Tobacco Looper (Chrysodeixis argentifera), and Soybean Looper (Thysanoplusia orichalcea) of the family Noctuidae.

There are many other harmless native Loopers which breed in native plants such as WattlesGrevilleas and Eucalypts. Just because they are feeding on a plant, doesn’t make them a pest.

Image above: Green Looper (image courtesy of E. Dando)

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