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The Diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella), sometimes called cabbage moth, is a European moth believed to originate in the Mediterranean region that has since spread worldwide. The moth has a short life cycle (14 days at 25°C), highly fecund and capable of migrating long distances.. It is one of the most important pests of cole crops in the world and will usually only feed on plants that produce glucosinolates. However, not all of these plants are equally useful as hosts to the moth; there has been some discussion of using wintercress as a buffer plant around agricultural fields as diamondback moths are highly attracted to that plant but their eggs fail to survive when oviposited on it.

The diamondback moth is most important as a pest in areas that do not experience very cold winters, as these help to kill off overwintering moths.

The diamondback moth was the first insect that was found to have developed resistance to the biological pesticide Bt toxin in the field. Trichoplusia ni (Cabbage looper) is the only other insect to have developed resistance to Bt toxin in agricultural systems, specifically in greenhouses.


  1. Talekar, N.S., & Shelton, A.M. 1993. Biology, Ecology and Management of the Diamondback Moth. Ann Rev of Entomol 38:275-301
  2. Badenes-Perez, F.R., Nault, B.A., & A.M. Shelton. 2006. Dynamics of Diamondback moth oviposition in the presence of a highly preferred non-suitable host. Entomol Exp Appl 120:23-31.
  3. Janmaat, A.F., & Myers, J. 2003. Rapid evolution and the cost of resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis in greenhouse populations of cabbage loopers, Trichoplusia ni. Proc Biol Sci. 270:2263-70.
  4. Wang, P., Zhao, J.Z., Rodrigo-Simon, A., Kain, W., Janmaat, A.F., Shelton, A.M., Ferre, J., & Myers, J. 2006. Mechanism of resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis toxin Cry1Ac in a greenhouse population of cabbage looper, Trichoplusia ni. Appl Environ Microbiol. Dec 22; Epub ahead of print.

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