New York Natural Heritage Program
Coastal Heathland Cutworm
Abagrotis nefascia benjamini Franclemont
Insects

Identifying Characteristics [-]
Like many other noctuids (owlet moths), the coastal heathland cutworm is a small, brown moth. The forewing is reddish brown, with a white strip at the end. The hind wing is grayish brown, with darker shading towards the end. The wingspan is approximately 30-35 mm. Larvae are smooth, brownish gray to brownish black, and grow to approximately 30 mm (Crumb 1956).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
The adult is the best life stage for identification.

Behavior [-]
Adults fly mostly in July, but some also fly in August and September. Larvae hatch from eggs in the fall. The larvae overwinter and continue to feed in the spring. Pupation occurs in a cell underground. Prepupal larvae of some closely related species (and perhaps this species) aestivate underground for three or four months during the summer before emerging as adult moths (Wagner et al. 2008).

Diet [-]
The plants on which the larvae feed have not been documented.
Coastal Heathland Cutworm Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
The best time to see the coastal heathland cutworm is during its flight season, from July to September. Most adults fly in July, but some also fly in August and September.
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Present Reproducing
The time of year you would expect to find Coastal Heathland Cutworm present (blue shading) and reproducing (orange shading) in New York.