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(invertebrate zoology)
A large family of dull-colored, medium-sized moths in the superfamily Noctuoidea; larva are mostly exposed foliage feeders, representing an important group of agricultural pests.



(owlet moths), a family of Lepidoptera. The wingspread ranges from 1 to 30 cm (in Erebus odora—the largest moth) but most often is between 3 and 5 cm. The antennae are usually setaceous, but in some species they are pectinate. The elongate, triangular fore wings are in most cases gray or brown with characteristic markings of three spots (a round one, a kidney-shaped one, and wedge-shaped one) and several wavy diagonal stripes. The hind wings are wider and more rounded than the fore wings; they are gray or, less commonly, red or yellow with black bands. The larvae have five or, less frequently, three or four pairs of abdominal legs. They are generally naked or have slightly noticeable setae. Only larvae of the subfamily Apatelinae are pilose. Pupation occurs in soil “cradles” or, in some species, in fragile cocoons on plants. Most noctuids, including both adult and larval forms, are active at night.

There are about 20,000 species (according to other data, as many as 30,000) distributed throughout the world. More than 2,000 species occur in the USSR. Owlet moths include many agricultural and forest pests. Field and garden crops are damaged by Agrotis segetum and Agrotis exclamationis. Barathra brassicae infests cabbage and sugarbeet crops, and Heliothis armiger and Plusia gamma attack industrial, cucurbitaceous, and other crops. Grain crops are damaged by Hadena sórdida and Parastichtis basilinea, and coniferous forests are infested by Panolis flammea.

Control measures include the implementation of progressive agricultural techniques (for example, deep autumn plowing), the use of entomophagous organisms (for example, Trichogramma), and, in the case of massive infestations, dusting or spraying plantings and seeds with insecticides.


Pospelov, S. M. Sovki-vrediteli sel’skokhoziaistvennykh kul’tur, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1969.
Kozhanchikov, I. V. Sovki (podsemeistvo Agrotinae). Moscow-Leningrad, 1937. (Fauna SSSR: Nasekomye cheshuekrylye, vol. 13, issue 3.)
Merzheevskaia, O. I. Sovki (Noctuidae) Belorussii. Minsk, 1971.
Spuler, A. Die Schmetterlinge Europas, 3rd ed., vols. l-t. Stuttgart, 1908–10.


References in periodicals archive ?
butterflies, larvae of noctuid moths, aphids, beetles, and grasshoppers (A.
Tania Olivares and Andres Angulo, noctuid specialists at the University of Concepcion, Chile, confirmed our findings in November 2012.
Members of the noctuid genus Heliothis comprise some of the most important of all phytophagous insect's pests with word wide distribution and significance but of the 80 or so species currently recognized [1] only Helicoverpa armigera (Heliothis armigera), Heliothis zea and Heliothis virescens have achieved major pest status [2].
Trapping noctuid moths with synthetic floral volatile lures.
The specimens were identified by the second author, a Noctuid expert, and classified into subfamilies according to the system devised by Poole (1989).
armigera is the noctuid specie possessing by far the most reported resistance cases to a wide range of pesticides worldwide (JouAen et al., 2012; Mironidis et al., 2013), including resistance to transgenic Bt cotton (Luttrell and Jackson,2012; Yang et al., 2013).
Females of the noctuid moth Haden a Mauris pollinate flowers of the host plant Silene latifolia and then lay one egg per ovary (the larvae feed on the seeds).
Nocturnal floral visitors include many moth species (sphingid, noctuid, and geometrid moths), while diurnal pollinators include honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies, and some fly species (Altizer et al., 1998; Golonka, pers.