cutworms and dart moths

(Subfamily Noctuinae)

Overview
cutworm or dart moth (Subfamily Noctuinae)
Photo by Nancy Falkum
 

Noctuinae is by far the largest subfamily of noctuids (Family Noctuidae). There are about 1,500 species in 18 or 19 tribes in North America north of Mexico. There are at least 224 species in 16 or 17 tribes in Minnesota.

Adults of many species are called “dart moths,” otherwise more generally as “cutworm or dart moths.” Most are active at night. Larvae are known as cutworms and are also active at night. They feed on the roots and shoots of a variety of plants. They often cut the stem off just above the ground. This is the feature that gives the subfamily one of its common names. Many are considered agricultural pests.

 
           
 
Description
 
 

The eyes are smooth, not covered with hairs. There are no eyelashes. On the hindwing the Cu vein appears to have just three branches, M3, CuA1, and CuA2. The fourth vein, the M2, is absent. This character is known as trifine venation. On the fourth segment (tibia) of the middle leg there are always spine-like hairs (setae). On the front and hind legs there are usually also spine-like setae on the tibia. On all legs, these setae are evenly spaced within rows.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Lepidoptera

7, 24, 27, 30.

 
  11/26/2021      
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
  Clade Coelolepida  
  Clade Myoglossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  Clade Eulepidoptera  
  Clade Ditrysia  
  Clade Apoditrysia  
  Clade Obtectomera (macro-moths and butterflies)  
  Clade Macroheterocera (true butterflies, butterfly-moths, and other macro-moths)  
 

Superfamily

Noctuoidea (owlet moths and allies)  
 

Family

Noctuidae (cutworm moths and allies)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

Tribe Actinotiini

Tribe Apameini

Tribe Arzamini

Tribe Caradrinini

Tribe Dypterygiini

Tribe Elaphriini

Tribe Episemini (?)

Tribe Eriopygini

Tribe Glottulini

Tribe Hadenini

Tribe Leucaniini

Tribe Noctuini

Tribe Orthosiini

Tribe Phlogophorini

Tribe Phosphilini

Tribe Prodeniini

Tribe Pseudeustrotiini

Tribe Tholerini

Tribe Xylenini (doubtful)

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

cutworms and dart moths (family)

cutworms (larvae)

cutworm moths or or dart moths (adults)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Seta

A stiff, hair-like process on the outer surface of an organism. In Lepidoptera: A usually rigid bristle- or hair-like outgrowth used to sense touch. In mosses: The stalk supporting a spore-bearing capsule and supplying it with nutrients. Plural: setae.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot). The fifth segment of a spider leg or palp.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Nancy Falkum

 
    cutworm or dart moth (Subfamily Noctuinae)      
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Owlet Moths: Cutworm or Dart Moths
Seth Ausubel
  Owlet Moths: Cutworm or Dart Moths  
 
About

Noctuidae:Noctuinae

 

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  Noctuinae caterpillar on the move
Felix Flax
 
   
 
About

Mar 25, 2021

 
  Assortment of Different Insects #1
iPhoneEntomologist
 
   
 
About

May 28, 2013

The two larvae in the video are from the Subfamily Noctuinae (Cutworm or Dart Moths).

Thanks to SibVlog for the identification for the first species! Shield-Backed Cutworm (Sunira bicolorago)

 

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

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  Nancy Falkum
9/18/2021

Location: Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Weaver Dunes Unit

cutworm or dart moth (Subfamily Noctuinae)

 
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
 

 

 

 

 

Binoculars


Created: 11/26/2021

Last Updated:

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