Xestia xanthographa (Square-spot Rustic Moth)

Xestia xanthographa (Square-spot Rustic Moth)

This distinctive and handsome Noctuid moth is a Eurasian import that was first found in North America in the Portland, Oregon area in 1933. It has since spread throughout the west side of the Cascades, and along the Columbia and Snake rivers, but has so far remained confined to the PNW. It is a serious agricultural pest of grass growing operations in western Oregon, and is also found in many natural areas. 

Xestia xanthographa (Square-spot Rustic Moth)

Description-Medium sized (fw length 15-17mm) reddish brown moth, with ocher filling in the orbicular and reniform spots, zigzag, black, single transverse lines, that are sometimes composed mostly of dots, diffuse dark scales between the orbicular and reniform spots, and a greyish yellow hindwing. 

Similar speciesDiarsia rosaria or dark near the margins and has doubled transverse lines. 

Habitat-Grassy areas of all sorts, and along rivers and streams

Range-Eurasian native; primarily west of the Cascades , and along the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

Xestia xanthographa (Square-spot Rustic Moth)

Eats-Larvae are climbing cutworms ( which means they often feed on foliage as well as stems) and feed mostly on non-native, coarse grasses like rye (Elymus spp.) and orcheard grass (Dactylis glomerata), but they will also eat other grasses and forbs; adults feed on nectar. 

Eaten by-Birds and other insectivores 

Reproduction– Larvae are nocturnal and remain active and feed throughout the winter. 

Adults active-August and September 

Etymology of namesXestia is from the Greek for ‘polished/smooth’, and refers to the glossy forewings of some members of this genus. The specific epithet xanthographa is from the Greek for ‘yellow marking’, and refers to the yellowish filling of the orbicular and reniform spots. 

Xestia xanthographa (Square-spot Rustic Moth)




Xestia xanthographa (Square-spot Rustic Moth)

3 thoughts on “Xestia xanthographa (Square-spot Rustic Moth)”

  1. Just had one of these for the second time today (beforethat on the same day, 200904!).

    Had a hard time to iodentify it and am grateful – as always – for your comprehensive and systematic coverage.

    See the following link:


    Thanks for your very informative blog.

    What can we do to make it searcheable and accessible?


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