Pest categorisation of Spodoptera frugiperda

European Union, fall armyworm, migration, pest risk, plant pest, quarantine
First published in the EFSA Journal
6 July 2017
28 June 2017
Last Updated
31 January 2018. This version replaces the previous one/s.
Scientific Opinion

The European Commission requested EFSA to conduct a pest categorization of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) a pest with hosts in 27 plant families. Favoured hosts include maize, rice and sorghum (Poaceae). Hosts also include crops within the Brassicaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Solanaceae, Rutaceaea and other families. Spodoptera frugiperda is a taxonomic entity with reliable methods for identification. It is regulated in the European Union (EU) as a harmful organism whose introduction into the EU is banned. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas and migrates to temperate regions in North and South America during the summer. Establishment in temperate areas is prevented by its inability to overwinter. Spodoptera frugiperda has been intercepted on plant produce entering the EU. Phytosanitary measures are available to impede entry via traded commodities. In 2016 S. frugiperda was reported damaging maize in Africa. Subsequent reports indicate that it continues to spread severely damaging maize and other crops. If S. frugiperda spreads into north Africa, the likelihood of adults migrating into the temperate EU increases. Within the scope and level of analysis appropriate for pest categorisation, the EFSA Plant Health Panel concludes that S. frugiperda could establish in a small area of the southern EU from where it is likely to enter more northern regions forming transient summer populations, particularly in maize growing regions where impacts on yield could occur. However, uncertainties regarding establishment remain. Considering the criteria within the remit of EFSA to assess as regards status as a potential Union quarantine pest (QP) or as a potential regulated non-quarantine pest (RNQP), S. frugiperda satisfies the criteria to be regarded a Union QP but does not meet the criteria of (i) occurring in the EU territory, and (ii) plants for planting being the principal means of spread, criteria required for RNQP status.

Panel members at the time of adoption
Claude Bragard, David Caffier, Thierry Candresse, Elisavet Chatzivassiliou, Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz, Gianni Gilioli, Jean-Claude Gregoire, Josep Anton Jaques Miret, Michael Jeger, Alan MacLeod, Maria Navajas Navarro, Björn Niere, Stephen Parnell, Roel Potting, Trond Rafoss, Vittorio Rossi, Gregor Urek, Ariena Van Bruggen, Wopke Van der Werf, Jonathan West and Stephan Winter.
Panel on Plant Health
alpha [at]
EFSA Journal 2017;15(7):4927
Question Number
On request from
European Commission

This version replaces the early version which was published on 6 July in line with EFSA's scientific procedures for urgent scientific advice. Table 4 was amended and editorial changes were made.