A picture of an Underwing Moth
Photo by:
Gary Meszaros/Bruce Coleman Inc.
Cutworm, common name for the caterpillar or adult of certain moths in the family that includes the armyworms, loopers, underwings, and many others. Cutworms include important pests such as the corn earworm. Cutworms injure a great variety of plants, including cabbages, corn, cotton, and tomatoes, especially during the seedling stage. They may consume roots, shoots, stems, buds, and young leaves. In heavy infestations, young plants may appear to have been cut off at the ground by the caterpillars' feeding-hence, the name cutworm. Cutworms are nocturnal, sometimes climbing fruit trees to reach the leaves and buds, and they hide under vegetation or stones or burrow into the ground in the daytime. The caterpillars are mostly smooth-bodied and dull-colored. Adult moths are typically stout-bodied, medium-sized, and have dull, gray or brown mottled wings.

Scientific classification: Cutworms belong to a number of genera in the moth family Noctuidae, including Agrotis, Euxoa, and several others. The corn earworm is classified as Helicoverpa zea.

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