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Yellow-striped Armyworm Moth (Spodoptera ornithogalli)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Yellow-striped Armyworm Moth



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The Yellow-striped Armyworm Moth can give rise to a large and rapid-aging infantry of garden and crop destroyers that are difficult to stop.



Updated: 08/11/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
An angled yellow shard of color sits on the side of the Yellow-striped Armyworm Moth. The rest of the wings are brown with ivory lines that crisscross their wings. The mottled pattern across the light brown wings also sports patches of ivory and dark brown. Adults are active from March to late fall, but in warmer southern states they are seen on the wing all year round.

The Yellow-striped Armyworm is the name of this moth's larva. The appearance of the caterpillar is variable. It may look black or tan, and have a long line of thin yellow stripes on each side of the body. It may also seem more brown with a pair of black triangles (or semicircles) on the top of the body, pointing toward each other at each segment. The head has a 'V' shaped yellow mark on it, and it could be orange, red, brown, or black. This caterpillar eats the fruit and foliage from an assortment of plants that are found in vegetable gardens like alfalfa, beans, beet, cabbage, corn, cucumber, onions, peas, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. It also feeds on cash crops like wheat, tobacco, and cotton. This caterpillar is considered a pest in the southeast and insecticidal sprays are used to control population size when the larvae are young. Females lay hundreds of eggs on the bottom of leaves and these young larvae have huge appetites. They also mature quickly so warmer states can see perhaps three or four generations in one year.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Garden pest insect icon
Pest insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Noctuidae
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          Genus: Spodoptera
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            Species: ornithogalli
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Spodoptera ornithogalli
Other Name(s): Cotton Cutworm
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 32mm to 44mm (1.25" to 1.73")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, black, yellow, white, ivory
Descriptors: flying, garden pest
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 32mm and 44mm
Lo: 32mm
Md: 38mm
Hi: 44mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of 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 Yellow-striped Armyworm 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 Yellow-striped Armyworm Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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