Pest categorisation of Spodoptera eridania
The EFSA Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of Spodoptera eridania (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) for the European Union (EU). S. eridania (southern armyworm) is a highly polyphagous pest native to the Americas which has spread to Africa being first reported there in 2016. There are multiple generations per year. Although it can endure short freezing periods, prolonged frosts are lethal. Eggs are laid in batches on the leaves of host plants. Five to seven larval instars follow. Like other armyworms, early instars are gregarious and cause leaf skeletonisation. Older instars disperse and become more solitary and nocturnal. Larvae feed on field vegetables and can bore into tomato fruit. They can eat apical portions of branches and can bore into stems and tubers if preferred foods are scarce. Pupation takes place in the soil. S. eridania is regulated in the EU by Directive 2000/29/EC (Annex IAI). Within this Directive, a prohibition of soil imported from countries where S. eridania occurs, prevents the entry of S. eridania pupae. However, immature stages on plants (excluding seeds), fruit and flowers provide potential pathways for entry into the EU. S. eridania adults have been intercepted in the EU as hitchhikers. Climatic conditions and the wide availability of host plants provide conditions to support establishment in frost‐free regions of the EU. It could spread more widely forming transient populations during summer months. Impacts on field vegetables and ornamentals would be possible. Phytosanitary measures are available to reduce the likelihood of entry. S. eridania satisfies the criteria that are within the remit of EFSA to assess for it to be regarded as a potential Union quarantine pest. S. eridania does not meet the criteria of (a) occurring in the EU, and (b) plants for planting being the principal means of spread for it to be regarded as a potential Union regulated non‐quarantine pest.