Description and Biology
Venus flytrap cutworms, Hemipachnobia subporphyrea, are light brown caterpillars with a narrow, distinct, pale yellow stripe down the back outlined by darker brown lines. A faint yellow line outlined by slightly darker brown lines occurs on either side of the back. A relatively dark brown, narrow line down each side separates the pale undersides from the brown top side. It is likely that these mature cutworms crawl to the soil surface and dig in to pupate the following spring. In late March to early May, reddish brown moths emerge to mate and lay eggs. The wingspan is about 11/2 inches. Females have slender antennae whereas the antennae of males are feathered. Moths peak in April. The Venus flytrap cutworm is confined to the fragmented distribution of Venus fly taps and the population is considered extremely reduced. Colonies are clustered in wet pine savannas, a habitat that needs fire to persist,
Appropriately enough, Venus flytrap cutworms have only been collected while feeding on Venus fly traps. However, the related sundew dart, Hemiachynobia monochromatea, switches to plants in the blueberry family in its late stages so Venus flytrap cutworms may do likewise.
Since few residences exist in wet pine savanas and since the venus flytrap cutworm is an endangered species, control recommendations for Venus flytrap cutworms are not recommended.
- Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Animal Candidate Review for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species. Anonymous. 1994. Publication: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Hemipachnobia subporphyrea - (Walker, 1858), Venus Flytrap Cutworm. Schweitzer, D.F. 2011. Nature Serve Explorer.
- Extension Plant Pathology Publications and Factsheets
- Horticultural Science Publications
- North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual
For assistance with a specific problem, contact your local Cooperative Extension Center
Publication date: Nov. 14, 2018
Revised: Oct. 18, 2019
N.C. Cooperative Extension prohibits discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, gender identity, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation and veteran status.