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Noctuid Moth

Scientific Name
Helicoverpa sp.
Scientific Author
(Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Heliothinae)
Pest Status
0 Unknown
NZ - Exotic

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Diagnostic Images

Dorsal - Adult
Caroline Harding MAF
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Diagnostic Images (6)
Other Images (6)
Diagnostic Notes

Eye full and globular; green. Frons only moderately bulging and with a rather weakly developed ventral lip. Labial palp clothed with spatulated and hair-like vestiture, the former predominating; vestiture forming a moderate curtain ventral to palp. Antenna of both sexes filiform, that of male ventrally ciliate, that of female ventrally very sparsely ciliate. Head and thorax densely clothed in a mixture of hair-like and spatulated scales, the former predominating on the surface. Wing pattern typically noctuiform. Hindwing yellow-suffused. Foretibia setose. Foretarsus without enlarged setae. Mid and hind tibiae setose. Male: Have a very long, coiled vesica with a strip of cornuti along its length; a patch of modified scales on the prothoracic femur. Female: Have a long, alternately dilated and constricted appendix bursae, the membrane of which is thickened, opaque, and appears "leathery".


Head colour of first instar is black or dark brown and later instars are light brown green with a constant pattern of darker spotting. Body length is 10-12 times width and spiracles are found on prothorax and abdominal segments 1-8, with height about 1 ½ times the width. Larval skin is covered with small spines. Background colour in first instar is grayish white and can vary from green to pinkish brown in later instars. Prothoracic shield is dark brown or black in all instars. Dorsal area that extends from midline to just above first seta in all segments is heavily pigmented and area just below this is lightly pigmented. Supraspiracular area is heavily pigmented extending from subdorsal area to just above spiracle on prothorax to just above spiracles in abdominal segments. Subspiracular area is white with very light brown markings, sometimes with infused with a pinkish colour, extending from lower edge of subspiracular area to midway between setae on prothorax and other segments.


- Bejakovich, D. & Dugdale, J.S. (1991). Keys to late-instar larvae & adults of Noctuidae (Lepidoptera) encountered in field surveys and border control in New Zealand. 55 pp.

- Hardwick, D.F. (1970). A generic revision of the North American Heliothidinae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Memoirs of the Entomological Society of Canada 73

- Kirkpatrick, T.H. (1961). Comparative morphological studies of Heliothis species (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Queensland. Queensland Journal of Agricultural Science, 18: 179-194.

- Matthews, M. (1999). Heliothine moths of Australia. A guide to pest bollworms and related noctuid groups. Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera, Volume 7, CSIRO Publishing, Victoria, 320 pp.

- Zimmerman, E.C. (1958). Insects of Hawaii. Volume 7. Macrolepidoptera. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 542 pp.
More Information
Specimen Contact
MAF Plant Health & Environment Laboratory
MAF Plant Health & Environment Laboratory
29/07/2011 01:00 AEST
Last Updated
09/04/2014 01:44 AEST
MAF Plant Health & Environment Laboratory (2011) Noctuid Moth (Helicoverpa sp.) Updated on 4/9/2014 1:44:24 AM Available online: PaDIL -
Image Use
Free for use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License