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Digital Guide to Moth Identification

990070n – 19070   Autographa gamma (Linnaeus, 1758)
             Silver Y Moth

Christi Jaeger, MEM
Distribution: Palearctic, not found in North America north of Mexico.
and Size:
Wingspan 36-40mm.
Depending on climate, A. gamma can go through two to four generations a year.
Larva and
Host Plants:
Larvae are polyphagous, feeding on plants representing many families, including the Asteraceae (lettuce, yarrow and sunflower), Alliaceae (onion), Amaranthaceae (spinach, beet and chard), Brassicaceae (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprout, and turnp), Cannabaceae (marijuana), Rosaceae (apple), Linaceae (flax) Apiaceae (carrot and parsley), Solanaceae (potato, bell pepper, and chili pepper) Fabaceae (soybean, clover, chickpea, bean, and pea), Poaceae (corn, Timothy grass, oats, and barley) Cucurbitaceae (cucumber, squash, and pumpkin), and Urtiaceae (nettle).
Field Marks:
Adults are silvery-gray to reddish-gray to brown in appearance. Spring generation typically more grayish, later generations often brownish. The Y marking in the center of the wing is distinct and silvery to cream colored. Hindwings reddish brown, light cream proximally. Hingwing fringe is light cream colored.
Similar Species:
  • Most similar to A. californica. Male A. gamma distinguishable from other Autographa by the presence of a basal curved cornuti and many spicules within the phallus.
  • Pinned specimens of related species. (Hint: select View by Region on the related species page.)
  • (1) Sullivan, M. and Molet, T. 2007. CPHST Pest Datasheet for Autographa gamma. USDA-APHIS-PPQ-CPHST. Revised January 2014. [pdf]
  • (2) Passoa, S., 2007. Key to screen selected Lepidoptera larvae of quarantine significance to the southern United States. website
  • (3) Venette, R.C., Davis, E.E., Heisler, H., and Larson, M. 2003. Mini Risk Assessment Silver Y Moth, Autographa gamma (L.) [Lepidoptera: Noctuidae] [pdf]
Autographa gamma
Perry Hampson, UKmoths
Autographa gamma
LG – Christi Jaeger, MEM
Autographa gamma
34mm - LG – Canadian Nat'l. Coll.

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