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a family of moths, including some that fly at dusk and others that fly in the nighttime. The wingspread is usually 3–4 cm (up to 8 cm in large species). The wings are most commonly brownish gray, and, when at rest, they lie flat or, occasionally, are lifted upward or folded overhead. The females of certain species that fly in the autumn or winter have short wings or are entirely wingless. The larvae are grayish or greenish and resemble thin twigs or leaf stalks. They have only two pairs of prolegs (on the sixth and tenth abdominal segment), and when they move they curve their bodies in a loop and pull the prolegs toward the thoracic legs, as if they were measuring their path with a tape measure. The larvae feed on leaf and flower buds, leaves, and flowers (usually of woody plants). Pupation occurs in the soil, among fallen leaves, or, sometimes, in flimsy cocoons in trees. The pupae and, in some species, the eggs winter in the soil.
There are about 15,000 widely distributed species of Geometridae. They are especially numerous in tropical and broad-leaved forests. Approximately 1,600 species are encountered in the USSR, mainly in the Far East. Many species are pests: the Erannis defoliaria and magpie moth damage gardens, and the winter moth and Bistort strataria are pests of parks and forests.
REFERENCESZhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 3. Moscow, 1969.
Seitz, A. Die Gross-Schmetterlinge der Erde, part 1, vol. 4. Stuttgart, 1915.
V. I. KUZNETSOV [21–8324]