Lesser Yellow Underwing
|Lesser Yellow Underwing|
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 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 (2010). It is a common species but not as abundant as its larger relative Large Yellow Underwing.
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  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.
Recorded food plants
- Betula – Birch
- Calluna – Heather
- Cirsium – Thistle
- Crataegus – Hawthorn
- Digitalis – Foxglove
- Fragaria – Strawberry
- Plantago – Plantain
- Prunus – Blackthorn
- Salix – Willow
- Angiosperms – Tulip
See Robinson, G. S. et al.
- Chinery, Michael Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe 1986 (Reprinted 1991)
- Lafontaine, J.D. & Schmidt, C., 2010. Annotated check list of the Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of North America north of Mexico. ZooKeys 40: 1-239
- Skinner, Bernard Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles 1984
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