Leucania loreyi (Duponchel, 1827)
Nightfeeding Rice Armyworm,
The Cosmopolitan
Loreys Armyworm
(also known as Acantholeucania loreyi)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

(Photo: courtesy of Galerie du Monde des insectes)

These caterpillars are brown with dark longitudinal stripes. The caterpillars hide in the soil by day, and at night feed on species in POACEAE, and are a pest on

  • Rice ( Oryza sativa ),
  • Maize ( Zea mays ), and
  • Sugar Cane ( Saccharum ).

    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

    The adult moths are brown with a tiny white spot near the middle, a series of narrow longitudinal dark stripes, and a submarginal arc of black dots on each forewing. The hindwings are mainly white. The wingspan is about 3 cms. The pheromones of this species have been investigated.

    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

    The moths are found over much of the world, including:

  • Borneo,
  • Egypt,
  • France,
  • India,
  • Israel,
  • Portugal,
  • South Africa,
  • Taiwan,

    and in Australia has been found mainly in Queensland, although some specimens have been reported in other states:

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania, and
  • South Australia.

    male, drawing by Philogène Auguste Joseph Duponchel, listed as Noctua loreyi,

    in J.B. Godart & P.A.J. Duponchel: Histoire naturelle des Lépidoptères ou Papillons de France,
    Volume 7, Part 1 (1827), Plate CV, fig. 7,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    The adult moths are similar to those of Leucania stenographa, but generally Leucania loreyi has darker forewings with a fainter central line.

    Furtther reading:

    Philogène Auguste Joseph Duponchel,
    Nocturnes 4,
    in J.B. Godart & P.A.J. Duponchel:
    Histoire naturelle des Lépidoptères ou Papillons de France,
    Volume 7, Part 1 (1827), pp. 81-82, and also Plate 105, fig. 7.

    E.D. Edwards,
    A second Sugarcane Armyworm (Leucania loreyi (Duponchel)) from Australia and the identity of L. loreyimima (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae),
    Australian Journal of Entomology,
    Volume 31, Issue 2, pages 105–108, May 1992

    S. I. El-Sherif,
    On the Biology of Leucania loreyi Dup. (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae),
    Journal of Applied Entomology,
    Volume 71, Issue 1-4, pages 104–111, January/December 1972

    Peter Marriott & Marilyn Hewish,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 9,
    Cutworms and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (C)
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2020, pp. 28-29.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 12 August 2012, 17 September 2013, 13 February 2016, 31 May 2017, 27 January 2021)