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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 09, 2021

Army Cutworm Moth: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Army cutworm moth facts are great for kids.

Are you interested in knowing more about species like giant leopard moths? If yes, then you will enjoy reading about army cutworm moths that are found in the high plains of western North America. The adults of this species are also known as the miller moth. However, these moths are mostly known for feeding on wheat and alfalfa, giving it a bad reputation. Adults are especially seen during the spring and fall months. While the main food for moths is nectar, the larvae feeds on plant leaves. One of the interesting aspects of army cutworms is the overwintering, where the partially grown larva drops to the soil as the temperatures fall, and it gets back to order during the spring months. When the temperatures rise in the summer months, the adults also migrate to the mountains to enjoy the cooler temperatures.

 Interested to know more about this species? Keep reading to find excellent army cutworm moth facts. Also, check out the articles on puss moth and luna moth.

Army Cutworm Moth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an army cutworm moth?

The army cutworm (Euxoa auxiliaris) moth is a type of moth belonging to the Noctuidae family.

What class of animal does an army cutworm moth belong to?

The army cutworm moth belongs to the class Insecta and to the genus Euxoa. Similarly, the banded tussock moth also belongs to the class Insecta.

How many army cutworm moths are there in the world?

This is a commonly found moth in different parts of the United States, and very few studies have been done to know about its population number.

Where does an army cutworm moth live?

The army cutworm (Euxoa auxiliaris) moth is endemic to North America and it is mostly found in different states of the United States. During the spring months, these moths are especially found in the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and New Mexico. However, as the temperature rises, these moths migrate towards the mountains. The range of this species is thought to be from western North America to the southern part of northern Mexico.

What is an army cutworm moth's habitat?

The commonly described habitat of this species is western prairies and high plains found in the United States. However, the habitat may change according to the temperatures and age of the moths. As larvae, it usually inhabits wheat fields and other crops like alfalfa. The larvae are said to graze on cereal crops and also on plants like canola, mustard, grasses, and sugarbeets. This moth is also seen on garden variety plants. During the summer months, army cutworm moths often migrate to the mountains, and as the temperature falls it returns to the breeding ground to deposit eggs.

Who do army cutworm moths live with?

As larvae or caterpillars, the army cutworm moth will live with its siblings according to the density of eggs hatched by the female. However, little is known about the living trends of this moth species as it grows up.

How long does an army cutworm moth live?

Even though we aren't aware of the exact lifespan of army cutworms, it can be said that it spends most of its time as grown larvae during overwintering. The adult moth most likely lives for only a few days.

How do they reproduce?

The most interesting aspect of army cutworm moths is reproduction. This is one of those species that is known for having one reproduction season every year. These moths are abundant in plains, and the eggs are laid during the late summer and fall months when the temperature is good and food is abundant. The grown larvae are known to overwinter by falling into the soil of plains and the brown color makes it indistinguishable. Female moths have the ability to lay 1,000 or more eggs. These moths lay eggs mainly on the back of plant leaves. After overwintering is over, cutworm larvae start feeding in the spring and turn into an adult just before it is ready to mate.

What is their conservation status?

Army cutworms are Not Evaluated in any conservation lists.

Army Cutworm Moth Fun Facts

What do army cutworm moths look like?

When it comes to army cutworms, these are mostly brown creatures. The larvae are greenish-brown with dark brown spots on the body. On the larvae, you can also see distinct pale brown lines running down the body. Similarly, adult moths pale brown wings with dark brown spots. These adults are also known for having small scales on the wings that appear powdery when touched, and this is the reason behind the name, miller moths. In the pupa stage, these western American creatures are mostly red.

Army cutworm moth facts help to learn about insects.

How cute are they?

Well, this species isn't really considered cute like the imperial moth because it has a bad reputation for feeding on crop plants.

How do they communicate?

Even though we do not know how army cutworms specifically communicate, we can definitely assume that tactile communication is mainly used to sense the environment. As adults, female moths also spread pheromones to attract mates.

How big is an army cutworm moth?

The average length of the larvae is around 1.5-2 in (3.8-5 cm). Similarly, the moths of army cutworms have a wingspan measuring close to the body size of caterpillars. In comparison, gypsy moth larvae have an average size of 1.5-3 in (3.8-7.6 cm).

How fast can an army cutworm moth fly?

We couldn't find any information about the flying speed of this species.

How much does an army cutworm moth weigh?

We are yet to know about the average body weight of army cutworms.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the males and females of this moth species.

What would you call a baby army cutworm moth?

A baby army cutworm (Euxoa auxiliaris) moth is called larva. The plural is larvae.

What do they eat?

Like other moths, the food habit of the army cutworm moth also changes its feeding habits during the different phases of its life cycle. During the larvae stage, the feeding is mainly done on host plants like alfalfa, wheat, sugarbeet, beans, clover, corn flax, oats, potato, and millets. The larvae can also be seen feeding on different kinds of grasses. However, as adult moths, they mainly feed on nectar from flowers.

Are they poisonous?

No, the army cutworm moth isn't poisonous or dangerous to humans. However, it is debilitating to crop plants as the larvae can destroy a significant chunk of a field.

Would they make a good pet?

We don't think that these moths, which is often thought to be pests, can really be good pets.

Did you know...

Adults of the army cutworm moth are often known as a miller moth, however there is another species known as miller moths, so it can often be confusing.

It is easy to get confused between army cutworms and armyworms. Even though both are quite similar, the distinction lies in the feeding habits of larvae. The larvae of cutworms feeds on their own while those of armyworms feed in a cluster.

How do army cutworms harm paddy crops? 

Army cutworm caterpillars are mainly to blame when it comes to harming paddy or wheat crops. Once the female adult lays the eggs on a host plant, after a while, depending on the temperatures, the eggs hatch to produce larvae. These will eat on the plant leaf before it turns into a pupa and then into an adult moth.

Many farmers have taken to using fertilizers to get rid of these caterpillars from feeding on leaves of wheat plants. These caterpillars usually feed during the night or on cloudy days with mild temperatures. The best way to this pest from harming crops is to catch the pest early on when the adults have just finished laying eggs. These eggs are usually found behind a plant leaf. Army cutworm moth control is done in the spring and fall to cut down on its reproduction.

How long does moth season last?

We don't really know about the exact season when these moths tend to emerge, but you will find this species usually in the springtime and during summers when it tends to deposit the eggs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our flatworms fun facts and stink bug facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable butterfly mandala coloring pages.

Main image by Whitney Cranshaw

Second image by Robert Webster

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