Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Noctuids, another family of little known pollinators

Cirrhophanus triangulifer (Goldenrod Stowaway)

The noctuids or owlet moths are part of a very large family, perhaps the largest one of Lepidoptera; although some of the subfamilies deserve to be considered as families in their own right. The taxonomy is still in flux.

The name Noctuidae of this family means night or nocturnal. One would think that these are night moths and many of them, in fact, are. But in such large family there are many representatives that choose to fly during the day. Once again some of these tend to be more colorful than night fliers. And, once again the day fliers are more likely to visit flowers and to be pollinators.

Alypia octomaculata (Eight-spotted Forester), a colorful noctuid moth

A number of them are found on flowers sipping nectar and are probably pollinators; although, once again, very little is known about this activity.

Here are a few of the most common ones:
Xestia c-nigrum/dolosa complex
Nephelodes minians (Bronzed Cutworm)

Lacinipolia renigera (Bristly Cutworm)

Moths as Pollinators
List of articles

© Beatriz Moisset. 2012


  1. I see several noctuids in my landscape, thanks for this informative post. I love the fake pollen combs on the Eight Spotted Forester. The only time I've seen this moth is on plants in the Amorpha genus.

  2. Thanks Heather. So little is known about moths as pollinators that any additional observation is valuable. Keep an eye on your noctuids at flowers and let me know.