The Noctuidae or owlet moths are a family of robustly-built moths . Most have dull fore wings, Although some have brightly coloured hindwings. There are usually few differences between the sexes. The noctuids fly at night and are almost invariably strongly attracted to light. Many are also attracted to sugar and nectar rich flowers.
A moth’s eyes, like a human’s eyes, contain light sensors and adjust according to the amount of light the sensors detect. A moth’s dark-adapting mechanism responds much more slowly than its light-adapting mechanism. Once the moth comes close to a bright light, it might have a hard time leaving the light since going back into the dark renders it blind for so long.
Some of the family are preyed upon by bats. However, many Noctuidae species have tiny organs in their ears which responds to bat echolocation calls, sending their wing muscles into spasm and causing the moths to move erratically. This aids the moths in evading the bats.
Moth caterpillars are often more attractive than the adult, this caterpillar which belongs to the Tinolius species (Noctuidae family ) being a good example. We found this awesome caterpillar in Ganeshgudi. It was moving in a very odd manner . It was curling its body to move.
This is an Erebus hieroglyphica female moth belongs to the same family Noctuidae. It is an owlet moth, the largest family of moths in the world, with maybe 100,000 species. These eye spots mimic the eyes of an owl or other nocturnal bird of prey. When the moth is disturbed by an enemy, it will suddenly flash the eyespots by opening the wings in an intimidation display. This serves to frighten predators away. Eyespots on the wings of butterflies and moths usually occur on the hindwings and are tucked away from view until needed.
Many species of owlet moths have become major pest of agricultural crops . With their enormous appetite they can cause serious damage to plants. Many owlet moth caterpillars are commonly called cutworms. These larvae feed in the underground on the roots and the lower stems of plants, cutting right through the plant killing it outright.
Photo credits : Anirudh Kannan
Species id credit : Guru-G, H.M.Yeshwanth ,Ashok Sengupta and Peter Smetacek.