Winter Cutworm from Canada

Winter Caterpillar
February 24, 2010
Hello Bugman,
I am a follower of your website for several years now. I moved to Canada recently, and have been exploring around Thames River. I came across this caterpillar in the snow in London Ontario.
It was little more than an inch in length. At first I thought it was dead, so I photographed it as it was (first picture). Later when I came back to explore, it had moved almost 3 feet from its location (picture 2) in about 45 minutes, and was on the snow (picture 3)!
This surprised me. I am aware of hibernating caterpillars, but the fact that this fellow was out in the open caught my attention.
Can you help me identify it? Is it a Noctuid caterpillar?
London ON, Canada

Winter Cutworm

Hi Ani,
Last month we received a similar letter from New England, and our faithful reader Karl helped us identify it as a Winter Cutworm, Noctua pronuba, an invasive species that was introduced from Europe.

Winter Cutworm

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so very much for the response! I have been coming across heaps of invasive species in the wild, compared to native species over here, which is very sad!
Thank you again for the information, I really appreciate it!
Keep up the good work!

Hi again Ani,
We believe you will find that the spread and proliferation of exotic imported opportunistic species is not limited to Canada, but is a phenomenon that we are seeing worldwide due to human migration.  There probably is not a scientist on the planet that will be able to accurately predict the extent of the dire consequences this will have on species diversity, and many endemic species are becoming endangered or extinct at an alarming rate.

3 thoughts on “Winter Cutworm from Canada”

  1. Edible!!
    This species is edible; therefore anyone wishing to combat an invasive species can use the most natural approach there is!

    Also, if anyone’s interested, there’s now an insitutional program to farm edible insect species in Costa Rica; I hope to go check it out in the next six months or so.


    • Thanks for this information Dave. This will probably be very helpful information for hikers who are lost in the snow and forced to survive in the wilderness.

  2. I was xc skiing across a field today and found two of these buggers on the top of the snow, about a half mile apart. My question is – how did they get there?? Doesn’t look like they crawled up from the earth, there were no trees close by – did a bird drop them there? Did they blow on the wind, creep there? What a mystery. Can anyone solve it for me?


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