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Pests of Sunhemp :: Major Pests :: Hairy Caterpillar


1. Hairy caterpillar: Utethesia pulchella (Arctiidae: Lepidoptera)
Distribution and status: Tamil Nadu and other sunhemp growing tracts in India
Host range: Sunhemp and other green manures

Damage symptoms

Defoliation of the plant. Larva feeds on leaves and also cause severe damage by feeding on the contents of developing pods. The caterpillars feed by thrusting the head in and leaving the rest of the body exposed.


The moths lay small whitish eggs on the tender leaves and shoot. On emergence from the eggs, the larva feed on leaves. Caterpillar hairy with brown head and yellow lines on the dorsal, dorso-lateral side with black stripes and orange patches. Body has long brownish hairs arising on warts.  Pupation takes place either in the leaf folds or in the soil. Adult has red and black spots on the white forewings. The life cycle is completed in about 5 weeks and a number of generations are completed in a year.


  1. Hand pick and destroy the caterpillars
    • Spray 1.25 L of endosulfan 35 EC or 2.5 kg of carbaryl 50 WP in 625 L of water/ha