Insects of Britain and Ireland: the genera of Lepidoptera-Noctuidae

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Mamestra Ochsenheimer

Adults. Head rough. Eyes hairy; not ciliated. Antennae of males ciliate.

Wingspan 36–50 mm. Thorax coloured like the forwings, the abdomen like the hindwings. Forewings dark fuscous; fuscous; complexly patterned; the patterning well marked to obscure (with confused marblings and mottlings); reniform defined (light-outlined); orbicular defined; claviform defined. Hindwings fuscous, or grey; terminally darkened; with a clear discal mark; without transverse lines; exhibiting vein 5. Vein 5 of the hindwings weak; arising nearer to vein 6 than to vein 4. Thorax crested (front and back). Posterior tibiae without spines (?). Abdomen crested.

Living adults found May to August.

Larvae, pupae. Larvae feeding on Brassica species, boring very damagingly into the 'hearts' of commercial varieties; pupating in the soil.

British representation. 1 species; South-east England, Central-southern England, South-west England, English Midlands, Northern England, Southern Scotland, Northern Scotland, Wales, and Ireland (very common); brassicae (Cabbage Moth).


Illustrations. • Hadeninae: M. brassicae (Cabbage Moth), and 8 related genera: Newman. • Noctuinae and Hadeninae: Kirby 35. • neuration: Hadeninae (Mamestra brassicae).

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the genera of Lepidoptera-Noctuidae. Version: 8th June 2016.’.