The dominant family of Lepidoptera. Adults usually stout-bodied and powerful flyers, with a well-developed proboscis; most species are of drab appearance but some are brightly coloured; forewings often with a characteristic reniform stigma (Fig. 142); frenulum present. Larvae rarely hairy (exception: subfamily Acronictinae -hairs arising in tufts and body with distinct dorsal humps) and most possess five pairs of functional abdominal prolegs (Fig. 143) (exception: subfamily Plusiinae - larvae with just three pairs,
Fig. 141 A tiger moth, Arctia caja - family Arctiidae: subfamily Arctiinae (x2).
Fig. 142 Typical forewing pattern of a noctuid moth - family Noctuidae.
Fig. 144); crochets uniordinal, arranged in a mesoseries (Fig. 143a); spiracle on the eighth abdominal segment more than twice the size of that on the seventh; eighth abdominal segment sometimes elevated (e.g. Fig. 143) but not forming a horn (cf. family Sphingidae). Pupation usu-
Fig. 143 A noctuid larva - family Noctuidae: (a) arrangement of crochets on an abdominal proleg.
ally occurs in the soil in an earthen cell, with or without forming a cocoon.
EXAMPLES: Acronictinae - Hydraecia micacea (rosy rustic moth); Amphipyrinae Phlogophora meticulosa (angle-shades moth); Hadeninae - Lacanobia oleracea (tomato moth), Mamestra brassicae (cabbage moth), Orthosia incerta (clouded drab moth); Heliothidinae - Helicoverpa armigera (larva = Old World bollworm); Noctuinae - Agrotis segetum (turnip moth); Plusiinae - Auto-grapha gamma (silver y moth).
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