Agrotis ipsilon Hufnagel Dark swordgrass moth

This cutworm species, although often important in continental Europe, is of only minor importance in the British Isles, where it causes damage only sporadically. The larvae attack various plants, including asparagus, lettuce, onion, potato, red beet and sweet corn. Adults occur from July to September and the larvae feed from autumn onwards; they complete their development in the following spring and early summer. Adults (40-55 mm wingspan) have mainly dark purplish-brown to pale ochreous forewings and pearly-white, blackish-suffused hindwings. The larvae (up to 40 mm long) are grey to bronzy-brown with two white spots on the head, a ring of four black spots on each of the first two thoracic segments and two black spots on each of the remaining body segments; the skin is noticeably warty. Infestations of this species in northern Europe are usually dependent upon significant northerly migrations of adults from Mediterranean areas.

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