Bronzed Cutworm

2021 March 21

Sandy found this brown caterpillar in the garden on June 25, 2019. It was over an inch long, and had clearly overwintered as a partly-grown caterpillar buried in the dirt.


The large tan head, black collar, and three lines starting at the collar and running (although faintly) all the way down to the second black plate at the rear, were distinctive enough that I think I found a match.


I believe it is a Bronzed Cutworm, Nephelodes minians


Cutworms in general are agricultural pests. They have the annoying habit of cutting off young plants at ground level, killing the stalk, and letting most of the plant go to waste. This particular species is reported to primarily eat grasses, which makes them a bit unusual in that they are more of a lawn pest than a garden pest.


Of course, “grasses” is a pretty broad term, and is not limited to lawn grass. Corn, wheat, oats, and the like are all grasses, too.

So anyway, it was pretty clear that this caterpillar was not something that we wanted around, so it was fed to the chickens. Who appreciate this sort of thing very much, and are only sad that we don’t find more.

Actually, thinking about it, if I had to eat caterpillars I’d probably go for the more well-camouflaged cutworms. The camouflage means that they are unlikely to be bad-tasting or toxic, and they are free of irritating hairs. They would probably be fine fried up like scrambled eggs, as long as one dosn’t think about it too much.

One Response
  1. Carole permalink
    March 22, 2021

    If you haven’t read Doug Tallamy’s books, you’re in for a treat. In talking about the importance of caterpillars, especially for baby birds, he points out they are good food for baby birds because they are soft, full of nutrients, and can be easily shoved down the bird’s throat.

Comments are closed.