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Grammodes geometrica
Author: Muhammad Mahdi Karim
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Eulen
• English: owlet moths
• Español: noctuidos
• Français: noctuelles

Noctuidae (owlet moths)

The Noctuidae is one of the largest families of Lepidoptera and includes many pest species. The caterpillars are known as cutworms, armyworms and semi-loopers, some are also borers. Typically, the caterpillars of the pest species lack hairs and have 4 pairs of prolegs, not counting the terminal appendage. Pupation takes place in the ground.

The adults and often also the larvae (e.g. cutworms) are mainly active during the night. The adults are good fliers and often form swarms which migrate hundreds of kilometers. The caterpillars may also move in groups to find new sources of food (armyworms).

The adults of the common pest species have a wingspan of 3-4 cm, but other species can be significantly larger. The wings are elongated and often mottled, usually in different shades of brown or gray. In some species greenish or reddish colours can be found. The antennae are often thread-like and the proboscis is usually well developed.


  • Agrotidae

The following genera and individual species are currently entered under Noctuidae: