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Agrotis segetum (Denis & Schiffermüller)
Scotia segetum, Euxoa segetum, Feltia segetum

Insecta, Lepidoptera, Noctuidae .

Turnip moth, Bark feeding cutworm, Xanthous cutworm

Description, Biology, Life Cycle, Damage, Common Names, Images

- Adult: 40 mm wingspan; dark brown fore wings with, in the middle, a uniform spot and a clearer circular spot. The hind wings are white in the male and grey in the female. The periphery of the wings bears a thin black border (*) .
- Larva: 45 to 50 mm, reddish head, greyish body with two parallel longitudinal lines in the middle region. On each segment, 2 small black spots at the front and two at the back, each bearing a small bristle (*) .

- Host plants: wild plants (Couch-grass (Agropyrum), Bindweed (Convolvulus), plantain (Plantago), etc.) then the neighbouring vegetables including red beet, potato, cereals, tobacco, vine, etc.
- Adult: this species is considered as being sedentary but the adults seem capable, at certain periods, of accomplishing limited flights. The females deposit their eggs singly or in small clusters on the underside of wild plants, on stems (*) as well as on the ground surface. Fecundity: 800 to 1,200 eggs.
- Egg: The average length of embryonic development is 15 days at 14.5°C.
- Larva: the young caterpillar first nibbles the wild plants and then attacks the neighbouring cultivated species. It feeds at night, gnawing the foliage and cutting the petioles (*) . During the day, it conceals itself by rolling up under a lump of earth or at a slight depth in the ground.

[R]Life Cycle
- 1 to 2 annual generations, sometimes, a partial third.
- The turnip moth hibernates as a caterpillar at different instars depending on the regions; development resumes in March-April. The adults appear from mid-April to the beginning of June and the first larval generation develops from June to July.
- In the north of France, these larvae having reached the last stage hibernate unless they pupate in the ground; the adults hatched in June produce a second larval generation.
- In the south, all the caterpillars pupate in June-July. The adults appear from end July to the beginning of September. The caterpillars develop from August to the end of October and hibernate at various instars; some produce a partial third larval generation in October-November.

The caterpillars are extremely voracious (*) ; however serious infestations are rare and remain generally below those of the dark sword grass moth (Agrotis ipsilon).

[R]Common Names
DE: Saateule, Wintersaateule ES: Rosquilla gris FR: Noctuelle des moissons IT: Nottua delle messi, Nottua dei seminati PT: Nóctua cinzenta GB: Turnip moth, Bark feeding cutworm, Xanthous cutworm

[R] Images

  1. Agrotis segetum (Denis & Schiffermüller) (BASF)
    Attacks on collar of beet
  2. Agrotis segetum (Denis & Schiffermüller) Adult (Coutin R. / OPIE)
  3. Agrotis segetum (Denis & Schiffermüller) Eggs on a stem (Coutin R. / OPIE)
  4. Agrotis segetum (Denis & Schiffermüller) Damage on lettuce (ACTA)
  5. Agrotis segetum (Denis & Schiffermüller) Larva in lettuce heart (Coutin R. / OPIE)
  6. Agrotis segetum (Denis & Schiffermüller) Larva At the base of lettuce plant which has been completely devoured.

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