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Dingy Cutworm Moth (Felita jaculifera)

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

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The Dingy Cutworm Moth's caterpillar is a drab-colored eating machine with an appetite for staple crops.

Updated: 01/03/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
A collage of browns on the wings of the Dingy Cutworm Moth is contained in well-defined geometric shapes. A basic triangular shape on each forewing is filled with a wave of dark brown and tan. An orange-brown mark shaped like a jelly bean sits near the bottom of each wing. Sharp lines create a distinctive pattern used to identify it. A light fringe borders the bottom of the wings. A hairy thorax ('shoulder' area) sports a dark center and ivory edge.

The Dingy Cutworm Moth is an Owlet moth, a member of one of largest moth families in the world. Twenty five percent of all moths come from this family and this particular species is found all over the North American continent. Like most moths, they are nocturnal and are most active at night, but some activity in the daytime isn't uncommon. They are also attracted to lights. Adults are active from late summer to fall, not minding the cooler weather.

The larvae of this species are known to be a terrible agricultural pest. They are short, plump and a dingy brown color. Eggs are laid on soil and they molt many times before they return to the soil to pupate. These caterpillars feed on the leaves and plants of important staple crops like corn, beans, flax, soybeans, and oats. Tobacco, alfalfa and wheat are also known food sources. The larvae cut the plant down to ground level with their feasting, and the loss of revenue makes them an agricultural pest.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Hairy insect icon
Patterned insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Noctuidae
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          Genus: Felita
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            Species: jaculifera

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Felita jaculifera
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 40mm (1.18" to 1.57")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; black; tan; white; gray; yellow
Descriptors: furry; hairy; spots

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 30mm (1.2in) and 40mm (1.6in)
Lo: 30mm
Md: 35mm
Hi: 40mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Dingy 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 Dingy Cutworm Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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