OWLET-MOTH. Any one of the night-flying moths of the family Noctuidw. This is a large assemblage of moths of rather strikingly char acteristic and rather uniform appearance, com prising in the United States more than 2100 species, which are almost without exception in jurious to vegetation. The moths, as a rule, are of sombre colors, averaging perhaps 1.50 inch in wing expanse. The fore wings are comparatively narrow, rather short and stout. and crossed by a series of wavy lines, with two usually darker or paler spots near the centre of the wing. The hind wings are usually without markings. and when at rest are concealed by the fore wings, which over lap and cover them, either flat upon the hack or roof-like. The body is large in proportion to the size of the wings. The thorax is heavy and quite stout, and in some species the scales on the upper surface are turned up, forming tufts. The ab domen is conical and extends beyond the inner angle of the hind wings when these are spread. The popular name. owlet-moth, is derived from the nocturnal habits of these insects. and from the fact that often when they are in obscurity their eyes shine brightly.
Sonic of the caterpillars are hairy, but the more typical ones are naked, and perhaps the most characteristic are the forms commonly known as cutworms (q.v.). They range from an inch to an inch and a half in length and have dull colors, ranging from dirty gray to dirty brown with a tew longitudinal stripes. They
hide during the day a little below the surface of the ground and often at the base of the plants upon which they feed, and during the night come out to eat whatever vegetation they can find. The eggs are laid on trees, stones, or leaves, and the larvae ha tch, as a rule, late in the summer, and pass the winter in a half grown con dition hidden beneath stones or logs or under the surface of the ground. In the spring they come out after this long fast and devour the new vegetation with avidity. Sonic of them will climb trees and are known as 'climbing cut worms.' The army-worm (q.v.) is a famous member of this family, as are also the wheat-head army worm, the fall army-worm, the cotton cater pillar of the South, and the tomato-worn'. The best remedy consists in ridding the land pre pared for gardens before setting out the plant:. by distributing here and there bunches of freshly cut grass or other vegetation which I:as previously been poisoned with Paris green.
Consult: Edwards, Standard Natural History, vol. ii. (Boston, 1884) ; Smith, Manual of Eco nomic Entomology (Philadelphia, 1896 ) ; Com stock, Manual for the Study of Insects (Ithaca, 1S95).