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Spruce climbing cutworm

Spruce climbing cutworm -
  • Latin name: Syngrapha alias (Ottolengui)
  • French name: Autographe de l'épinette
  • Order: Lepidoptera
  • Family: Noctuidae


Quebec, Newfoundland, Ontario, British Columbia

This species occurs throughout British Columbia; it also occurs north to Great Slave Lake, south to California and east to Newfoundland.



Damage, symptoms and biology

Syngrapha alias is a common solitary defoliator.

Mature larva up to 28 mm long. Head, green unmarked. Body, green, addorsal, subdorsal and spiracular white stripes; addorsal stripes broader than subdorsal and spiracular stripes. Two pairs of midabdominal prolegs instead of the normal four found in other cutworms.

This species overwinters in the larval stage. Larvae are present from May to June, pupation occurs in June, and adults emerge from June through August.

Canadian Forest Service Publications

Spruce climbing cutworm

Diet and feeding behaviour

  • Phyllophagous : Feeds on the leaves of plants.
    • Free-living defoliator: Feeds on and moves about freely on foliage.
Information on host(s)

The principal hosts of Syngrapha alias are Engelmann spruce, white spruce, Sitka spruce, black spruce, western hemlock and Douglas-fir; other hosts include amabilis fir, grand fir and subalpine fir.

Main host(s)

Balsam fir, black spruce, Engelmann spruce, white spruce

Secondary host(s)

American beech, Colorado spruce, jack pine, lodgepole pine, Norway spruce, red spruce, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, subalpine fir, tamarack


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