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Identification key to the Noctuinae occurring in the Dakotas

          Each page of this key contains multiple comparative statements along with accompanying illustrations and links to successive pages.  By following the links you will (it is hoped) end up at the name and picture of your specimen.  Species names are then linked to individual species pages.  This key works best with pinned specimens in good condition and at times requires a microscope; for strict picture matching see the photo gallery.  Because of the large number of species treated here, the phenotypic variation within each species and the close similarity between species, this key-- in keeping with the purpose of a useable online guide, should be viewed as an aid to identification rather than the last word.  For a full treatment of the North American Noctuinae see Lafontaine (1987, 1998, and 2004). 

    This key is based more upon utility rather than strict phylogeny and an effort has been made to have the more common, economically important, and/or easily recognized species key out on earlier versus later pages.  When identifying a specimen, be sure to scroll to the bottom of each page so as not to overlook a key statement.  Notes expanding on the key or providing addition identification information are found at the bottom of many pages.    

         Pictured below, and linked to their respective species accounts, are six of the more common and economically important species of Noctuinae in the Dakotas.  In the following key, species not known to occur in North Dakota are marked with an asterisk (*).


Black cutworm moth, Agrotis ipsilon Dingy cutworm moth, Feltia jaculifera Army cutworm moth, Euxoa auxiliaris
Variegated cutworm moth, Peridroma saucia W-marked cutworm moth, Spaelotis clandestina Large yellow underwing, Noctua pronuba











Begin key

Return to Family Noctuiidae




Last updated: 02/06/07

Dr. Gerald M. Fauske
collection manager, NDSIRC
research specialist, NDSU
216 Hultz Hall
Fargo, ND 58105
E-Mail: Gerald.Fauske@ndsu.nodak.edu

Published by the Department of Entomology 

Prospective students may schedule a visit by calling 1-800-488-NDSU.