Hairy Hydraecia

Hydraecia stramentosa Guenée, 1852

Hydraecia stramentosa
Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility

Insecta (Insects)
Noctuidae (Owlet Moths)
State Protection
Not Listed
Not listed or protected by New York State.
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
Critically Imperiled, Imperiled, or Vulnerable in New York - Conservation status is uncertain; could be especially vulnerable, very vulnerable, or vulnerable to disappearing from New York, due to rarity or other factors. More information is needed to assign either S1, S2 or S3.
Global Conservation Status Rank
Apparently Secure globally - Uncommon in the world but not rare; usually widespread, but may be rare in some parts of its range; possibly some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors.


Did you know?

This species does not cause harm to any crop but is closely related to the potato stem borer (Hydraecia micacea) and hop vine borer (H. immanis), the larvae of which are agricultural pests (Rings and Metzler 1982; Covell 1984).

State Ranking Justification

Forbes (1954) reported that this moth was "not common", and currently the species is known from only one location on Long Island. However, targeted surveys for the species have not been conducted, and the food source for the larvae, figwort (Scrophularia spp.), is widespread. There are a few historical records of the species from central and western New York. Additional surveys are needed to determine if it is still present at these and other locations.

Short-term Trends

The short-term trend for this species in New York State is unknown. Only one individual was documented on one occasion on Long Island during a field survey conducted in 1995.

Long-term Trends

The long-term trend for this species is unknown. Forbes (1954) reported that the moth was "not common". There are a few historical records of the species from central and western New York. Additional surveys are needed to determine if it is still present at these and other locations.

Conservation and Management


Prescribed burns in the winter are a potential threat. Eggs of this species are vulnerable to fires, and most immatures of this species are killed in fires that occur during the winter.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

The life history of this species should be considered when timing prescribed burns to restore grassland habitat in occupied areas. This species overwinters as eggs that are vulnerable to fires, and therefore winter fires may be a threat. However, older larvae of this borer species might be below ground during naturally timed fires. Burned patches may provide very good habitat a year after a burn and until the next burn if unburned areas are left adjacent to the burned area to provide refugia.



This moth is found in areas that contain the food source for the larvae, figwort (Scrophularia spp.). In New York State, it is known to inhabit a maritime grassland.

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Maritime grassland (guide)
    A grassland community that occurs on rolling outwash plains of the glaciated portion of the Atlantic coastal plain, near the ocean and within the influence of offshore winds and salt spray.


New York State Distribution

Currently, the only known occupied site is on Long Island. Historically, the moth was also reported from Ithaca and Sardinia in central and western New York.

Global Distribution

Distribution data for United States and Canadian provinces is known to be incomplete or has not been reviewed for this species. The species is known to occur in eastern North America in Ohio (Rings and Metzler 1982), Iowa (Opler et al. 2010), New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Ontario (NatureServe 2010).

Best Places to See

  • Montauk County Park (Suffolk County)

Identification Comments

Identifying Characteristics

This is a brownish-yellow moth with a postmedial line that is not white (Rings and Metzler 1982). The wingspan is approximately 36 mm. Since this species looks similar to several others, its identification is often difficult, and final identification of this species should be made by an expert (Rings and Metzler 1982).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification

The adult is the best life stage for identification.


This moth has one annual generation. It overwinters as eggs. Moths in this species group (Apameines) usually lay their eggs in rows on aging or dead plants that are the food source for the larvae. The eggs are covered with a secretion and fastened within leaf cases or gaps in dried plant material (Wagner et al. 2008).


The food source for the larvae is figwort (Scrophularia spp.).

Best Time to See

The best time to see this species is during its flight season, in late August and September.

  • Present
  • Reproducing

The time of year you would expect to find Hairy Hydraecia present and reproducing in New York.

Hairy Hydraecia Images


Hairy Hydraecia
Hydraecia stramentosa Guenée, 1852

  • Kingdom Animalia
    • Phylum Arthropoda (Mandibulates)
      • Class Insecta (Insects)
        • Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies, Skippers, and Moths)
          • Family Noctuidae (Owlet Moths)

Additional Resources


Covell, Charles V. 1984. A field guide to the moths of eastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

Forbes, William T. M. 1954. Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states part III. Cornell University Experiment Station Memoir 329.

NatureServe. 2010. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available (Data last updated August 2010)

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.

North American Moth Photographers Group at the Mississippi Entomological Museum. No date. Mississippi State University, Mississippi.

Opler, Paul A., Kelly Lotts, and Thomas Naberhaus, coordinators. 2010. Butterflies and Moths of North America. Bozeman, MT: Big Sky Institute. <> (accessed May 2010).

Rings, R.W. and E.W. Metzler. 1982. Two newly detected noctuids (Hydraecia immanis and Hydraecia micacea) of potential economic importance in Ohio. Ohio J. Sci. 82(5):299-302.

Wagner, D. L., D. F. Schweitzer, J. B. Sullivan, and R. C. Reardon. 2008. Owlet Caterpillars of Eastern North America (Lepidoptera: Noctudiae)


About This Guide

This guide was authored by: Andrea Chaloux

Information for this guide was last updated on: March 7, 2012

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. Online Conservation Guide for Hydraecia stramentosa. Available from: Accessed May 26, 2024.