Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Photos of insects and people from the 2022 BugGuide gathering in New Mexico, July 20-24

National Moth Week was July 23-31, 2022! See moth submissions.

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Photos of insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Previous events


Species Anarta trifolii - The Nutmeg - Hodges#10223

The Nutmeg - Hodges#10223 - Anarta trifolii Noctuidae: Anarta trifolii? - Anarta trifolii Noctuidae: Anarta trifolii? - Anarta trifolii Noctuidae: Anarta trifolii - Anarta trifolii The Nutmeg - Anarta trifolii Noctuidae ? - Anarta trifolii Anarta trifolii Anarta trifolii
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 Noctuinae (Cutworm or Dart Moths)
Tribe Hadenini
Genus Anarta
Species trifolii (The Nutmeg - Hodges#10223)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Clover Cutworm (larva)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Anarta trifolii (Hufnagel, 1766)
Phalaena trifolii Hufnagel, 1766
Discestra trifolii
* phylogenetic sequence #932826
Explanation of Names
TRIFOLII: probably a reference to the clover genus Trifolium, one of the larval food plants
Wingspan 30-40 mm (Covell, 1984).(1)
Forewing length 14-16 mm (Powell & Opler, 2009).(2)
Larva less than 3.5 cm (Wagner et al. 2011).(3)
Adult - forewing yellowish-brown to grayish; lines double, indistinct; most conspicuous markings are dark shading in lower half of reniform spot, and large W shape near middle of whitish subterminal line [described by Covell as "1-3 thin sharp wedges pointing inward from ST line"]; orbicular spot almost circular; claviform spot cone-shaped (may be dark in some specimens, pale in others); hindwing dirty whitish with blackish outer margin except for whitish patch at anal angle [adapted from description by Charles Covell].
Larva - body light green with dorsolateral line consisting of series of short dark streaks; ventrolateral line pinkish with dark spot in middle of each segment. Wagner describes it as having "endless varieties".
Throughout North America, including the far north (Alaska to Northwest Territories); may be absent from some southeastern states (e.g. South Carolina) but is recorded from Florida(4). Occurs worldwide in temperate zones.
Adults fly from May to October in the south, with presumably a much-restricted season in the far north (July and August?). Larvae present from June to September.
Larvae feed on more than 30 species of woody and herbaceous plants, including clover, several garden vegetables, sow-thistle, several plants in the mustard family, pigweed, lambs-quarters, various other weeds, elm, poplar.
Life Cycle
Overwinters as a pupa in the soil; eggs laid singly on underside of leaves in late spring and summer; newly-hatched caterpillars feed on underside of lower leaves, gradually moving up plant as they mature, causing damage during late June through early July and again from mid August through September; mature caterpillars burrow into topsoil to pupate.
Life cycle images:
eggs; newly hatched larva; older larvae; older larvae and pupa; adult
Recent observations on several European web sites suggest this species is becoming less common in the old world.
See Also
In the west, the most similar Anarta species is probably The Mutant (A. mutata), which has a more oblong orbicular spot and its forewing is more brownish/less yellowish
In the east, Apamea devastator (Glassy Cutworm) is similar but lacks the W shape in the subterminal line; also see Euxoa detersa (Rubbed Dart)
Caterpillar like the Verbena moth (Crambodes talidiformis) (Wagner et al. 2001)
Print References
Covell Jr., C. V. 1984. A field guide to moths of eastern North America. p.99, pl.21(3)
Powell, J. A. & P. A. Opler 2009. Moths of Western North America. University of California Press. pl.55.18m, p.302
Wagner, D. L., D. F. Schweitzer, J. B. Sullivan & R. C. Reardon 2011. Owlet caterpillars of eastern North America. Princeton University Press. p.491 (3)
Internet References
distribution in Canada list of provinces and territories (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)