Lesser Yellow Underwing

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Lesser Yellow Underwing
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Noctuidae
Genus: Noctua
Species: N. comes
Binomial name
Noctua comes
Hübner, 1813

The Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It is found in the Palearctic ecozone (Europe, North Africa, Canary Islands, Middle East, South Russia, Caucasus, Transcaucasia, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, north-west India, Novosibirsk, and Central Asia). It was introduced into British Columbia in about 1982 and has spread southward in the Pacific Northwest. It has recently been reported from Ontario (Crolla 2008). Full synonymy given in Lafontaine.[1] It is a common species but not as abundant as its larger relative Large Yellow Underwing.

Lateral view

This species generally has the appearance of a "scaled-down" (wingspan 38–48 mm) version of the Large Yellow Underwing. The forewings are equally variable, from light brown to almost black and it also has orange-yellow hindwings with a black sub-terminal band. The hindwings also have a black discal spot, usually absent from the larger species. It flies at night from July to September [1] and is attracted to light and flowers such as heather, marram grass, and ragwort.

The larva is also very similar to that of Large Yellow Underwing – green or brown with black dashes along the back. Its feeding habits, however, are very different: this is not a "cutworm" but feeds on the foliage of a range of plants, trees, and shrubs as well as herbaceous plants (see list below). This species overwinters as a larva.

Noctua comes in the caterpillar stage
Illustration from John Curtis's British Entomology Volume 5

Recorded food plants[edit]

See Robinson, G. S. et al.[2]


  1. ^ The flight season refers to the British Isles. This may vary in other parts of the range.


  1. ^ Lafontaine, J.D. & Schmidt, C. (2010). Annotated check list of the Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of North America north of Mexico. ZooKeys 40: 1-239
  2. ^ "Robinson, G.S., P.R. Ackery, I.J. Kitching, G.W. Beccaloni & L.M. Hernández. (2010). HOSTS - A Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants. Natural History Museum, London.". 
  • Chinery, Michael (1991). Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe.
  • Skinner, Bernard (1984). Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles.

External links[edit]