In the swarming phase, African armyworms (Spodoptera exempta) are usually blackish in colour, but brown to green otherwise. Similar to fall armyworm, they also have an inverted Y marking in the head region, as well as similar lateral stripes and bands. They lack the clear spots, however, and only enter the damaging swarming phase once every five to ten years. They are usually found in masses on grasses and do not hide in crops during the daytime like the fall armyworm. Pupae are also found in the soil. The moths look similar to that of the fall armyworm, and also lay eggs in hair-covered masses. ​

African armyworm, D.Visser, ARC-VOP, Roodeplaat.