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Army Cutworm Moth (Euxoa auxiliaris)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Army Cutworm Moth



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A common pest of turf grass, the Army Cutworm is a nuisance in the plains and western parts of the continent.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Grasses of all kinds, including crops like young wheat, are a favorite food for the caterpillar of the Army Cutworm Moth. Known simply as the Army Cutworm, the grayish-brown, worm-like larva chew down blades of cut and even cuts out 'window panes' while feeding. The result is a bedraggled appearance to the plant and is a nuisance to those growing crops. The caterpillars are plump and have pairs of small black dots along a wide, lighter 'back' stripe. Long, thin stripes form as the caterpillar matures.

The adult moth is also called a Miller Moth because its dusty appearance was thought to look like flour in a mill. The light brown moth cannot tolerate cold winters in the northern part of its range, so each summer, it flies north and even upward into the mountains to feed on wildflowers there. Eggs are laid back in the warmer south. Hatched larvae travel at night just under the soil surface to new patches of food when an area is completely consumed. Farmers scout their fields to keep abreast of any cutworm damage in the event it is severe and requiring management/control.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Pest insect icon
Rounded insect body icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Noctuidae
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          Genus: Euxoa
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            Species: auxiliaris
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Euxoa auxiliaris
Other Name(s): Miller Moth
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 17mm to 22mm (0.66" to 0.86")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; tan
Descriptors: tan edges; reniform spots; tooth border; round spots; flying; pest

Army-Cutworm-Moth Video(s)




A slow-moving Army Cutworm, taking breaks while digging.
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 17mm and 22mm
Lo: 17mm
Md: 19.5mm
Hi: 22mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Army Cutworm Moth may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Army Cutworm Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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