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The caterpillar is striped brown, black and off-white (or cream). Its head and thorax are both narrower than the abdomen and darker in colour. A distinctive feature used in its identification is the white diagonal stripe on the side of the seventh abdominal segment. The fully grown caterpillar grows to about 4cm long. These caterpillars feed solely on grass and are a minor pest of pastures.
In Australia, the blood-spotted noctuid moth occurs in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and south Western Australia. It was first found in New Zealand in Hawke’s Bay in 2007 and is now found throughout most of the North Island.
By 2017, it had spread to the upper South Island and in 2021, it reached North Canterbury.
In February this year, Hugh Wilson reported numbers of adults seen for the first time in Hinewai Reserve on Banks Peninsula.
Very quickly moving south, the blood-spotted noctuid moth will soon reach Otago and become firmly established.