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Species Trichoplusia ni - Cabbage Looper Moth - Hodges#8887

Noctuid - Trichoplusia ni Plusiinae - Trichoplusia ni Noctuid - Trichoplusia ni Cabbage Looper Moth - Hodges#8887 - Trichoplusia ni Ni Moth? - Trichoplusia ni #8887 - Trichoplusia ni? - Trichoplusia ni moth ID? - Trichoplusia ni Cabbage Looper Moth - Trichoplusia ni
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea (Owlet Moths and kin)
Family Noctuidae (Owlet Moths)
Subfamily Plusiinae (Looper Moths)
Tribe Argyrogrammatini
Genus Trichoplusia
Species ni (Cabbage Looper Moth - Hodges#8887)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Ni Moth
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Trichoplusia ni (Hübner, [1803])
Noctua ni Hubner, [1803]
Plusia humilis Walker, 1858
P. florida Dannehl, 1929
* phylogenetic sequence #931168
Explanation of Names
Ni: chemical symbol of the element Nickel; perhaps the silvery-white stigma on the adult's forewing was reminiscent of nickel to Hubner, who described the moth, but this is pure speculation.
The only species in this genus in North America; variably common throughout range.
Forewing length 15-18 mm (Pogue, 2005)(1)
Larva to 32 mm
Adult - forewing a blend of light and dark brown, showing very little overall contrast; stigma consists of small U-shaped inner spot usually not touching solid outer spot; terminal line scalloped; hindwing gleaming grayish-brown, darker in outer half.
sickle-shaped ampulla arising from sacculus.

Larva - green with thin white stripes down the back, and a single thicker white stripe along the side.
Cosmopolitan, introduced in the Nearctic. In North America, from Florida to California, north to British Columbia, east to Newfoundland (adults migrate north in late summer to northern United States and southern Canada) in the Americas, occurs south to Argentina.
Fields, gardens; adults are nocturnal and come to light.
Adults fly from March to October.
Larvae feed on cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower, asparagus, beets, lettuce, and many other garden crops. Found and reared on wild Mohavea confertiflora (Desert Ghost Flower) (
Life Cycle
One to three or more generations per year.
Larva; pupa; adult
Tobacco plants will synthesize and transport alkaloids from the roots to the leaves when herbivory is detected that negatively affects this moth. But when they are infected with the root-feeding nematode, Meloidogyne incognita, this synthesis doesn't occur, leaving the plant susceptible to attack.(2)
See Also
Gray Looper Moth (Rachiplusia ou) forewing shows more contrast, and lines are more distinct . Several other members of the subfamily Plusiinae are similar.
Print References
Covell Jr., C. V. 1984. A field guide to the moths of eastern North America. p.155, pl.31, f.10 (3)
Eichlin, T. D. & H. B. Cunningham 1978. The Plusiinae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) of America north of Mexico, emphasizing genitalic and larval morphology. USDA Tech. Bull. 1567: 1-122 (PDF)(4)
Lafontaine, J. D. & R. W. Poole 1991. Moths of America North of Mexico, Fascicle 25.1: p.44; pl.1.8-9
Pogue, M. G. 2005. The Plusiinae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Zootaxa 1032: 1–28 (1) (PDF)
Powell, J. A. & P. A. Opler 2009. Moths of Western North America. University of California Press. pl.49.25f, p.277 (5)
Internet References
Moth Photographers Group - species page
E.H. Strickland Museum - species page
live adult images plus common name reference [Ni Moth] and food plants (Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa)
live adult images and other info (Keith Naylor, Barry Stewart, Paul Gay, UK Moths)
live larva image plus common name reference [Cabbage Looper] and description (John Jackman, Texas A&M U.)
food plants and flight season (Ohio State U.) - life cycle, host info and photos
Works Cited
1.The Plusiinae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Michael G, Pogue. 2005. Magnolia Press Zootaxa 1032: 1–28.
2.Insect Ecology: Behavior, Populations and Communities
P. W. Price, R. F. Denno, M. D. Eubanks. 2011. Cambridge University Press.
3.Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America
Charles V. Covell, Jr. 2005.
4.The Plusiinae (Lepidoptera:Noctuidae) of America north of Mexico, emphasizing genitalic and larval morphology
Thomas D. Eichlin, Hugh B. Cunningham. 1978. United States Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin 1567: 1-121.
5.Moths of Western North America
Powell and Opler. 2009. UC Press.