Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Plant Science

First Advisor

Burruss McDaniel


This study has four objectives: to determine the species of cutworm moths occurring in South Dakota, provide a means for their identification, bring together life history data with special reference to South Dakota, and compare South Dakota species with those of surrounding states. Previous faunistic work dealing with cutworm moths in the state is limited to a list of names by P.C. Truman for species collected in the Volga area and scattered literature citations for specimens for other locations. Neighboring states (except Wyoming) have lists: Iowa, Jerrell and Jaques; Minnesota, Knutson; Montana, Cook; Nebraska, Walkden and Whelan; North Dakota, Groom. Both the Minnesota and Montana lists have some life history information. For identification, three books covering the greatest number of species cover less than 70% of South Dakota cutworm moths. A comparison with surrounding states gives an idea of a species' range, and importance, and also serves as a check upon the results. The Noctuidae (Owlet Moths) are the largest family of Lepidoptera, having nearly 2, 700 species north of Mexico. Group characters are the quadrifid forewing venation, veins Sc and R fused for a short distance beyond the base of the hindwing, Sc of hindwing not swollen at base, vein lost on both wings, and ocelli nearly always present. The Subfamily Noctuinae (Cutworm Moths) is one of at least 21 recognized. Moths can be separated in most cases with the key below. Occasionally an array of characters are used and subfamilies will key to more than one couplet. This indicates that the true division of sub families at that point is in larval structures. Collected specimens came from four sources. Recent captures using a standard U.S.D.A. light trap equipped with a 15-watt General Electric bulb in Brookings County during 1980 and 1981 and in Jackson County during 1976 and 1977. A 200-watt General Electric Soft White bulb and a method known as sugaring, applying a mixture of brown sugar and stale beer to tree trucks, were used to collect in Minnehaha County. The former beginning in 1972, the latter in 1976. Both were continued through 1981. The fourth source was the S.D.S.U. Insect Collection. Cutworm moths there collected by H.C. Severin, B. McDaniel, F. Andress, T. Johnson, T. Knutson, and P.C. Truman. A literature search added several records. J.D. Lafontaine of the Canadian Department of Agriculture furnished records from the Canadian National collection and aided in the determination of specimens.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Moths -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University