Puneet Varma (Editor)


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Kingdom  Animalia
Scientific name  Noctuidae
Higher classification  Noctuoidea
Phylum  Arthropoda
Superfamily  Noctuoidea
Rank  Family
Order  Butterflies and moths
Noctuidae CHARAXES
Lower classifications  Spodoptera, Helicoverpa armigera, Helicoverpa, Fall armyworm, Helicoverpa zea

Lepidoptera noctuidae anarta trifolii moth

The Noctuidae or owlet moths are a family of robustly built moths that includes more than 35,000 known species out of possibly 100,000 total, in more than 4,200 genera. They constitute the largest family in the Lepidoptera.


Noctuidae httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons11

Their distribution is worldwide, with about 1,450 species found in Europe.

Most have drab forewings, although some have brightly coloured hindwings. Differences between the sexes are usually few. The overwhelming majority of noctuids fly at night and are almost invariably strongly attracted to light. Many are also attracted to sugar and nectar-rich flowers.

Noctuidae List of moths of Great Britain Noctuidae Wikipedia

Some of the family are preyed upon by bats. However, many Noctuidae species have tiny organs in their ears that respond to bat echolocation calls, sending their wing muscles into spasm and causing the moths to dart erratically. This aids the moths in evading the bats.

Noctuidae Australian NOCTUIDAE

Several species have larvae (caterpillars) that live in the soil and are agricultural or horticultural pests. These are the "cutworms" that eat the bases of young brassicas and lettuces. They form hard, shiny pupae. Most noctuid larvae feed at night, resting in the soil or in a crevice in its food plant during the day.

Noctuidae Moths of Southeastern Arizona The Noctuidae

The Noctuidae are also remarkable for containing an extraordinary number of species whose caterpillars are able to feed on certain poisonous plants without harm. These foodplants — namely Solanaceae (e.g., Nicotiana) and Fabaceae (e.g., Sophora) — contain chemicals that would kill most insects trying to feed on them.

Noctuidae Family Noctuidae

Corn earworm moth noctuidae helicoverpa zea dorsal view


Division into subfamilies, and the number of subfamilies is unsatisfactory and varies somewhat in various taxonomical systems. Several moth genera are not yet robustly assigned to subfamilies:

  • Amazonides
  • Amilaga
  • Ammopolia
  • Anartomorpha
  • Androdes
  • Anaphela
  • Anhausta
  • Aplectoides
  • Apoxestia
  • Astonycha
  • Atlantagrotis
  • Axylia
  • Calpoparia
  • Consobrambus
  • Cryphiomima
  • Macrobarasa
  • Oediconia
  • Parasoloe
  • Plectothripa
  • Pseudotryphia
  • Quadratala
  • Syagrana
  • Talhoukia
  • Zazanisa
  • Recent molecular studies, however, have shown that the family Noctuidae is paraphyletic. The subfamily Plusiinae should be raised to family status. The Noctuidae sensu stricto should be confined to trifines. The quadrifid noctuid subfamilies are paraphyletic (or perhaps polyphyletic) and should be grouped in a clade with the Arctiidae and Lymantriidae. The terms trifid and quadrifid refer to the number of veins from the lower part of the hindwing midcell.

    Example species


  • Acronicta aceris (the sycamore)
  • Acronicta exilis (exiled dagger moth)
  • Acronicta leporina (the miller)
  • Acronicta psi (grey dagger)
  • Cryphia domestica (marbled beauty)
  • Amphipyrinae

  • Amphipyra pyramidea (copper underwing)
  • Amphipyra tragopoginis (mouse moth)
  • Spodoptera cilium (dark mottled willow, lawn caterpillar or grasslawn armyworm)
  • Spodoptera exempta (African armyworm)
  • Cuculliinae

  • Aporophyla lueneburgensis (northern deep-brown dart)
  • Cucullia umbratica (the shark)
  • Hadeninae

  • Discestra trifolii (the nutmeg)
  • Mamestra brassicae (cabbage moth)
  • Melanchra persicariae (dot moth)
  • Lacanobia oleracea (bright-line brown-eye)
  • Hecatera bicolorata (broad-barred white)
  • Hadena bicruris (the lychnis)
  • Cerapteryx graminis (antler moth)
  • Panolis flammea (pine beauty)
  • Orthosia cerasi (common Quaker)
  • Orthosia gothica (Hebrew character)
  • Mythimna ferrago (the clay)
  • Mythimna impura (smoky wainscot)
  • Heliothinae

  • Helicoverpa zea (cotton bollworm)
  • Schinia varix
  • Noctuinae

  • Noctua pronuba (large yellow underwing)
  • Eugnorisma glareosa (autumnal rustic)
  • Lycophotia porphyrea (True Lover's Knot)
  • Diarsia mendica (ingrailed clay)
  • Xestia c-nigrum (setaceous Hebrew character)
  • Xestia triangulum (double square-spot)
  • Xestia sexstrigata (six-striped rustic)
  • Xestia xanthographa (square-spot rustic)
  • Naenia typica (the gothic)
  • Euxoa nigricans (garden dart)
  • Agrotis infusa (bogong moth)
  • Agrotis segetum (turnip moth)
  • Agrotis clavis (heart and club)
  • Agrotis exclamationis (heart and dart)
  • Ochropleura plecta (flame shoulder)
  • Abrostola tripartita (spectacle)
  • Cosmia trapezina (the dun-bar)
  • Apamea crenata (clouded-bordered brindle)
  • Apamea sordens (rustic shoulder-knot)
  • Brachylomia viminalis (minor shoulder-knot)
  • Eupsilia transversa (the satellite)
  • Agrochola circellaris (the brick)
  • Euplexia lucipara (small angle shades)
  • Phlogophora meticulosa (angle shades)
  • Omphaloscelis lunosa (lunar underwing)
  • Plusiinae

  • Autographa gamma (silver Y)
  • Additional examples:

  • Apina callisto (pasture day moth)
  • Axylia putris (the flame)
  • Antitype chi (grey chi)
  • Thalpophila matura (straw underwing)
  • References

    Noctuidae Wikipedia