Large Yellow Underwing Moth (Noctua pronuba) - Wiki
Large Yellow Underwing
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[Photo] Hausmutter (Noctua pronuba). Source http://www.naturspektrum.de/ns1.htm. Date 17. Juli 2004. Author Holger Gr??schl
The Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) is a moth, the type species for the family Noctuidae. It is an abundant species throughout Europe, one of the commonest and most familiar moths of the region. In some years the species is highly migratory with large numbers appearing suddenly in marginal parts of the range.
This is a quite large and heavy moth with a wingspan of 50-60 mm. The forewings are quite variable from light brown to almost black. The darker individuals often have a pale streak along the costa. The hindwings are bright orange-yellow with a black sub-terminal band. As with other Noctua species (and numerous other insects), this contrast of drab-at-rest and bright-in-flight is used to confuse potential predators. This species flies at night from July to September and is attracted to light, sometimes in huge numbers. It will also visit flowers such as Buddleia, ragwort and Red Valerian.
The larva is green or brown with two rows of black dashes along the back. This is one of the notorious "cutworms", causing fatal damage at the base of virtually any herbaceous plant (some examples listed below), sometimes severing it completely. This ubiquitous species is one of the most hated of garden pests. The species overwinters as a larva and feeds on mild days throughout the winter.
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