T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Agrotis ipsilon (Greasy Cutworm)

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:     Arthropoda
Class:        Insecta
Order:       Lepidoptera
Family:      Noctuidae
Subfamily:   Noctuinae
Genus:      Agrotis
Binominal name: A. ipsilon
Species: Agrotis ipsilon
Common name: Greasy Cutworm, Dark Sword-grass, Black cutworm

Agrotis ipsilon is a small noctuid moth found worldwide. The moth has pale brown forewings with dark brown and black markings and translucent hindwings, greyish white with brown venation. It has a wing span of 4-5 cm. The hindwings have a thin dark line along the margins of the hindwings.
The moth gets its specific name from black markings on the forewings shaped like a Y and resembling the Greek letter 'ipsilon'.
Agrotis ipsilon is found in many regions of the world and its larva is a serious agricultural pest and feeds on nearly all varieties of vegetables and many important grains. The caterpillar of Agrotis ipsilon is smooth and ranges from purplish to brown in colour and is patterned with grey lines and spots.
The adults feed on nectar from flowers. Among crop plants, the larvae favour most vegetable plants, alfalfa, clover, corn, strawberry, maize, sunflower, tomatoes and potato. Each larva can consume over 400 square centimetres of foliage during its development. They feed above ground until about the fourth instar. After that they do considerable damage to crops by severing young plants at ground level. Damage to the underground parts of plants can also be harmful.








 


This moth had not got it wings folded in the usual position. See above photo.




The caterpillar of Agrotis ipsilon.