Neumichtis nigerrima (Guenée, 1852)
Black Noctuid
(previously known as Syntheta nigerrima)
AMPHIPYRINAE ,   NOCTUIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Neumichtis nigerrima
(Photo: courtesy of Donald Hobern, Aranda, Australian Capital Territory)

This Caterpillar is initially green with pale stripes. Later the stripes are replaced by speckles with two bright yellow spots on the last abdominal segment. Mature instars often become brown.

Neumichtis nigerrima
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

It is an agricultural pest, attacking

  • Turnips ( Brassica rapa, BRASSICACEAE ),
  • Sugar Beet ( Beta vulgaris, CHENOPODIACEAE ),
  • Potato ( Solanum tuberosum, SOLANACEAE).
  • Clover ( Trifolium, FABACEAE ), and
  • Grass pasture ( POACEAE ).

    Neumichtis nigerrima
    dark specimen
    (Photo: courtesy of Laura Levens, Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria)

    The forewings of the adult moth vary from dark brown to black. On the paler specimens, a pattern of light and dark brown may be discernible. Many have a pale spot near the middle of each forewing. The hind wings are pale with incomplete wide black borders.

    Neumichtis nigerrima
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    Underneath: the wings are pale grey, darkening towards the margins. The moth has a wingspan of about 4 cms.

    Neumichtis nigerrima
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Laura Levens, Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria)

    The species occurs across Australia, including:

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

    Neumichtis nigerrima
    female, drawing by George Francis Hampson, listed as Eumichtis extima,

    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Phalænæ in the British Museum,
    Noctuidæ, Volume VI (190), Plate CIV, fig 16,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Ernst Mayr Library, Harvard University.


    Further reading :

    David Carter,
    Butterflies and Moths,
    Collins Eyewitness Handbooks, Sydney 1992, p. 258.

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pp. 65, 461, 465, 467.

    Pat and Mike Coupar,
    Flying Colours,
    New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 76.

    Achille Guenée,
    Noctuélites,
    in Boisduval & Guenée: Histoire naturelle des insectes; spécies général des lépidoptères,
    Volume 9, Part 5, Section 1 (1852), p. 200, No. 318.


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    (updated 22 October 2011, 10 April 2017)