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Cotton Insect Pests

picture of loopersLoopers

Two species of loopers are commonly found in Mississippi cotton, the cabbage looper and the soybean looper. Distinguishing between these two species can be challenging, but in general, loopers are easily identified by the fact that they only have two pairs of abdominal prolegs, which causes them to move in a "looping" manner (most caterpillars have four pairs of abdominal prolegs). Eggs are deposited individually on the undersides of leaves and the young looper larvae begins feeding at this site soon after hatching. Loopers are strictly foliage feeders, so defoliation by larger larvae is the type of damage inflicted. Loopers pupate on the undersides of leaves after spinning a very thin, transparent cocoon. Looper moths are easily identified by the distinct silver spots located on each forewing.