Celery Looper

Family: 
Noctuidae (owlet moths)
Description: 

Adults typically rest with wings folded rooflike over the back. The forewing is gray or tan, with a rectangular, darker brown patch bordered by a curved silvery white line which often ends in a small reddish spot.

Larvae are pale green “loopers,” which move inchworm-like by humping their backs. A white or pale line runs down each side; these contain a row of small white spiracles edged in black. There are sparse, minute hairs and tiny light markings on the rest of the body.

There are several similar species of noctuid (owlet) moths in Missouri.

Size: 
Wingspan: 1¼–1½ inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
Celery loopers fly in open areas and occur in grasslands, old fields, crop fields, gardens, roadsides and more. They are attracted to lights at night.
Foods: 
Larvae feed on a great variety of herbaceous plants, including several cultivated species—beet, blueberry, cabbage, carrot, celery, corn and lettuce—as well as wild plants such as clovers, plantains and viburnums. The adults drink nectar from a variety of flowers.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Statewide.
Status: 
Breeding resident.
Life cycle: 
Adults fly from April into October and are active both night and day. This species overwinters in the pupal form and emerges in spring as an adult. There can be multiple broods.
Human connections: 
There are many more moths than there are butterflies, and this is one of several noctuid or “owlet” moths that look very similar. Some noctuids are serious crop and garden pests.
Ecosystem connections: 
The caterpillars are herbivores that graze on vegetation. The adults serve a role in pollination. All stages provide food for predators.