Agrotis crinigera

Poko Cutworm
(Agrotis crinigera)

syn. Rhyacia crinigera, Spaelotis crinigera


Hawai'i Islands: Hawai'i, Kaua'i, Lana'i, Laysan (?), Maui, Moloka'i (?), O'ahu

local name:

Poko (Hawaiian)

size: ca. 4,9 cm (wingspan)

extinction date: last seen in 1926

The Poko Cutworm, so named for its native name Poko, was one of the moth species, that in the time after the arrival of european settlers on the Hawai'i Islands were able to adapt quite well to the new set of circumstances.

The natural host plants of the caterpillars were several native species of Ihi (Portulaca spp.) as well as 'Ilima (Sida fallax), but in the meantime they also adapted themself to introduced plant species and fed on the leaves of thorn-apple plants (Datura spp.) and sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum). Furthermore they fed on several garden plants, especially of the legume family, e.g. beans, and may therefore have been not really welcome to gardens.


Even though the Poko Cutworm was distributed all over the hawaiian main islands, it belongs to the extirpated species now, whereas the reasons for this seem still to be unkown up to date.


- Elwood C. Zimmerman: Insects of Hawaii; A Manual of the Insects of the Hawaiian Islands, including an Enumeration of the Species and Notes on their Origins, Distribution, Hosts, Parasites, etc.. Vol. 7, Macrolepidoptera. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu. 1958