Insects of Britain and Ireland: the genera of Lepidoptera-Noctuidae
Adults. Head rough. Eyes glabrous; ciliated. Antennae of males ciliate.
Wingspan 52–66 mm. Head and collar pale, the rest of the thorax dark brown, cf. the light and dark components of the forewings, the abdomen coloured like the hindwings. Forewings dark brown- or fuscous-and-buff; longitudinally streaked to complexly patterned; the patterning well marked (the complex patterning noticably deficient in transverse lines); neither shining-metallic nor with shining metallic effects; reniform defined; orbicular defined to undefined; claviform undefined. Hindwings whitish-fuscous, or fuscous; plain, or terminally darkened; without 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 (prominently anteriorly, only slightly posteriorly). Posterior tibiae without spines. Abdomen crested.
Living adults found September to December, or January to April (both species hibernating).
Larvae, pupae. Larvae with red markings (in the form of an interrupted line low on the sides), or without red markings; posteriorly rounded; feeding on diverse herbaceous Dicots, Cyperaceae, Iris; pupating on the surface of the ground.
British representation. 2 species; South-east England, Central-southern England, South-west England, English Midlands, Northern England, Southern Scotland, Northern Scotland, Wales, and Ireland (common); exsoleta (The Sword-grass), vetusta (The Red Sword-grass).
Illustrations. • Cuculliinae: Xylena exsoleta (Large Sword-Grass, Cloudy Sword-grass: B. Ent. 256). • Xylena exsoleta: B. Ent. 256, legend+text. • Xylena exsoleta: B. Ent. 256, text cont.. • Xylena vetusta (Red Sword-grass) and X. exsoleta (The Sword-grass), with Cucullia and Xylocampa: Newman. • Cuculliinae: Kirby.
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. delta-intkey.com’.