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First detection of Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm) in Torres Strait

old revision
Publication Date
Thu, 06 Jul 2023, 05:48
Last Updated
July 6, 2023, 5:48 a.m.
Report Number
Pest Id
Spodoptera frugiperda - (LAPHFR)
Report Status
Fall armyworm is a lepidopteran pest that feeds on more than 350 plant species, including cultivated grasses such as maize, rice, sorghum, sugarcane and wheat but also other horticultural crops and cotton.
Pest Status (old values from ISPM 8 -1998 )
  • Transient: actionable, under eradication
Pest Status (ISPM 8 - 2021)
  • Present: not widely distributed and under official control
Geographical Distribution
Fall armyworm is limited to Saibai and Erub Islands, Torres Strait. The islands of the Torres Strait, while part of Australia, hold a special biosecurity designation. Under the Biosecurity Act 2015, no plant or animal material or soil can be moved from the islands to the Australian mainland without meeting biosecurity regulations. This is in recognition of the additional risk posed by proximity to Papua New Guinea and the relative freedom of movement of indigenous people between Papua New Guinea and the Torres Strait Protected Zone. See attached map. See AUS-101/1 for final report.

Suspect fall armyworm was detected in pest specific traps on the islands of Saibai and Erub in Torres Strait in late January 2020. The specimens were confirmed to be fall armyworm by morphological and molecular diagnostics. There is no evidence of an established population. Surveillance and trapping is underway to delimit fall armyworm. Regulatory measures are in place to contain the pest including the Biosecurity Act 2015. Fall armyworm has not been detected on mainland Australia. Commercial crops in North Queensland and mainland Australia are grown a significant distance from the detection sites.

These detections are being notified due to recent international interest. There is no evidence of an established population in Torres Strait and no detections on mainland Australia.
Contact for info
Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment GPO Box 858 Canberra ACT 2601 [email protected]
Report files
Torres Strait Zones Map
Issue keywords
Commodity keywords

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