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

DELTA home

L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Noctua Linnaeus

Euschesis Hübner, Lampra Hübner, Triphaena Ochsenheimer.

Adults. Head rough. Face without any conspicuous prominence. Eyes glabrous; not ciliated. Antennae of males ciliate.

Wingspan 31–58 mm. Thorax and abdomen coloured like the forewings, or in N. fimbriata and janthe the abdomen orange-yellow like the hindwings. Forewings pale ochreous to dark brown, umber or fuscous; almost plain, or patterned transversely, or longitudinally streaked, or complexly patterned; the patterning well marked to obscure; reniform defined; orbicular defined; claviform undefined. Hindwings terminally dark-banded, yellow, or orange (or ochreous-orange); conspicuously patterned (the dark outer band contrasting spectacularly with the brightly coloured inner part); with a clear discal mark, or without a clear discal mark; without transverse lines; exhibiting vein 5. Vein 5 of the hindwings strong (distally); arising nearer to vein 6 than to vein 4; convergent on vein 4 near their bases. Thorax crested (front and rear). Middle tibiae with spines. Posterior tibiae with spines. Abdomen not crested.

Living adults found June and July, or July and August.

Larvae, pupae. Larvae posteriorly rounded; feeding on diverse Dicot herbs and shrubs, also grasses (often nocturnal); pupating on the surface of the ground, or in the soil.

British representation. 6 species; South-east England, Central-southern England, South-west England, English Midlands, Northern England, Southern Scotland, Northern Scotland, Wales, and Ireland; comes (Lesser Yellow Underwing), fimbriata (Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing), interjecta (Least Yellow Underwing), janthe (Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing), orboba (Lunar Yellow Underwing), pronuba (Large Yellow Underwing).


Illustrations. • The 7 British species of Noctua (Yellow Underwings): Newman. • Light and melanic forms of Noctua pronuba and N. fimbriata, with N. janthe, N. comes and N. iterjecta (Yellow Underwings, photos). • Noctuinae: Kirby. • Noctuinae: Noctua comes ab. curtisii (Bute Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing variety: B. Ent. 348). • Noctuinae: Noctua comes ab. curtisii: B. Ent. 348, legend+text. • Noctuinae: Noctua comes ab. curtisii: B. Ent. 348, text cont.. • Larvae and pupa of N. pronuba and N. fimbriata: Duponchel and Guénée (1849).

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.’.