Cutworms and armyworms: Description

Variegated cutworm and striped armyworm: The variegated cutworm, Peridroma saucia, [left] and the yellowstriped armyworm, Spodoptera ornithogalli [right].Variegated cutworm and yellowstriped armyworm: The variegated cutworm, Peridroma saucia, [left] and the yellowstriped armyworm, Spodoptera ornithogalli [right]. (Photos Marlin E. Rice)

Cutworms: The black cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon, (top) and dingy cutworm, Feltia ducens,  may occasionally feed on seedling soybeans. (Photo Marlin E. Rice)Cutworms: The black cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon, (top) and dingy cutworm, Feltia ducens, may occasionally feed on seedling soybeans. (Photo Marlin E. Rice)

Cutworms and armyworms are part of a large family of moths, the Noctuidae. This family of insects includes some of the most costly insect pests of crops. For all of these insects it is feeding by their larval stage, or caterpillar, that causes crop damage. Caterpillars in this family can be identified from other families by having granulated appearance to their cuticle (Wintersteen 1994). Additionally, all of the cutworms and armyworms have 4 pair of prolegs.