Moth (Ptialama Linn), the common name of the third and last section of the order lepi-doptera, the other two having been described under Butterfly and Hawk Moth. This section includes a great number of nocturnal insects, also called night butterflies and millers, including all that cannot be arranged under the other sections. They vary greatly in size, color, and form; while those with gilded wings are very minute, the atlas moth of China (atta-cus atlas) covers a space 9 by 5 1/2 in. with its expanded wings, and the owl moth of Brazil (erebus strix) expands 11 in. The antennae are usually tapering, either naked or feathered, varying according to sex, and amplest in the males; the wings are bridled by bristles and hooks, the first pair covering the posterior, and sloping when at rest; some females have very small wings or none at all; the hind legs have two pairs of spurs. The tongue in most consists of a sucking tube formed of two hollow threads, rolled up when not in use; in some it is very short or wanting; there are generally two feelers, curving upward from the lower lip.
The legs in the larvae vary from 10 to 16; some in this condition are smooth and naked, others hairy uniformly or in tufts, others warty or spiny; some enclose themselves in silken cocoons (as the silkworm), others enter the ground, or undergo their change in the interior of plants; the chrysalids are oval without angular elevations. Most moths conceal themselves by day, flying only at night and during the warm season; a few, as some bombyces, fly by day and in the brightest sunlight. Modern entomologists generally recognize seven groups, as follows: I. Bombyccs or spinners, including Latreille's four sections of hiepialites, bomby-cites, pseudo-bombyces, and aposura. This, the largest group, was so named from bomlyx, the old name of the silkworm, and its members are generally thick-bodied, with feathered antenna) (at least'in the males), very short or no feelers, with woolly thorax, and the fore legs often hairv; the caterpillars have 16 legs, and in most cases spin cocoons in which metamorphosis takes place. After Boisduval, Dr. Harris divides this irroup into nine families: 1. Litho-tiadce, so called from their caterpillars living in stony places and often feeding on the lichens growing upon rocks.
Many of the species are very handsome, but injurious from devouring grass; they are small, slender-bodied, with long bristly antennae, narrow fore wings, and smooth back; they often fly in the daytime; their caterpillars are sparingly clothed with hairs growing in clusters from small warts, and enclose themselves in cocoons of silk interwoven with their own hairs; the rings of the chrysalids are closely joined. The most elegant species is the de'iopeia bella, with white body, thorax dotted with black, fore wings deep yellow crossed by about six black-dotted white bands, the hind wings scarlet bordered with black behind, and a spread of about 1 1/2 in.; it can hardly be called injurious to vegetation. 2 Arctiadce, tiger and ermine moths, called woolly bears from the thick hairy covering of most of their caterpillars. The tongue is generally very short, and the antenna) doubly feathered on the under side, hardly visible in the females; feelers shorter and thicker than in the preceding family; wings roofed on each side, thorax thick, abdomen short and plump, generally with black spots; they fly only at night.
The hairy caterpillars run very fast, and when irritated roll themselves into a ball; some, like the salt-marsh caterpillar and the yellow bear, are very injurious to vegetation; when about to change they creep into a protected place, and make a cocoon of their own hairs and a little silk; the chrysalis is smooth, with movable joints. Most of our tiger and ermine moths belong to the genus arctia (Schr.). He largest is the A.virgo, which gives out a very disagreeable odor; it expands 2 1/2 in., and the wings are reddish; the larva is brown. The great American tiger moth (A. Americana), rep-resented in Europe by the A. caja, expands 2 1/2 in; the fore wings are brown marked with white and the hind ochre yellow spotted with blue black, and with a white edge on the collar; the catapillar is blackish brown. The yellow bear(A.[S] Virginica) is very common and destructive in gardens, devouring almost all kinds of plants; the moth is called the white miller, and would be called an ermine moth in England. The salt-marsh caterpillar (A. [S.] acrcea) is a great pest to the salt-hay crop; it appears toward the end of June, attaining the full size during August, nearly 2 in. in length.
The Isabella tiger moth (A. Isabella) is remarkable for the stiffness and evenness of its hairy covering, black toward the head and tail and tan-red between, with black body and head; the moth is tawny yellow with black dots, and the antenna) are not feathered. Some arctians devour the leaves of trees, the most familiar and destructive of which are the fall web worms (A. [S.] textor); the brood make a web in common, sometimes extending over entire branches, and feed in company under its protection, devouring the upper and pulpy portion of the leaves; when full grown they are a little more than an inch long, and are thinly clothed with hairs; the general color is greenish yellow dotted with black, the head and feet black; the moths are white, with tawny yellow fore thighs and blackish feet; the wings expand about 1 1/4 in. For full descriptions of these and other arctians, see Dr. Harris's work on "Insects Injurious to Vegetation." 3. Liparida, so called ffom the thickness of the body of the females, Avhich are sometimes destitute of wings, while the slender males have broad wings; the antennas are bowed and doubly feathered below; the feelers are very hairy, as are the fore legs; the males sometimes fly by day.
The caterpillars are in most half naked, the thin hairs growing chiefly on the sides; they are called tussocks in England, and have sometimes proved very destructive there; they are far less common and injurious in this country, where they are called vaporer moths; they belong to the genus orgyia, among others. 4. Lasiocampada, with very thick woolly bodies, without the usual bristles or hooks to the wings, with the front edge of the hind wings turned up; the larva) are generally not warty, and are sparingly clothed with short soft hairs, mostly on the sides; both sexes are winged, and fly only at night. Here belong the tent or lackey caterpillars so common in neglected orchards; the eggs are placed as little cylinders around the ends of branches, and the larvae when hatched make a tent like a spider's web between the forks of the branches of apple and cherry trees; they spin from the mouth a silken thread which serves to conduct them to the tent in their search for food, and in this manner their pathways become in time well carpeted and secure. They are called lackeys in England, and livrees in France, from their parti-colored livery of white, black, and yellow.
The American tent caterpillar or lackey (clisiocampa Americana) is so abundant and so well known as one of the worst enemies in the orchard, as to receive in many districts the name of "the caterpillar." The lappet moths are so called from the hairs which grow from fleshy or warty appendages that hang like legs from the sides of every ring; the American lappet moth is the gastropacha Americana, described in Dr. Harris's work above cited. The Chinese silkworm (bombyx mori), which belongs here, is noticed under Silkworm, and the processionary moth (B. processionnea) under Caterpillar. 5. Saturniadce, containing some of the largest and handsomest moths, with thick woolly bodies, widely feathered antennae, and wings without bristles or hooks, and generally with a conspicuous spot in the middle of each; they fly during twilight. The most beautiful of all is the luna moth (attacus luna), with long-tailed wings of light green expanding 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 in., each having a transparent spot encircled with white, red, yellow, and black; the larva is bluish green, from 2 to 3 in. long, and when at rest nearly as thick as the thumb; it is found on walnut and hickory trees, and spins a strong cocoon within a cavity formed by the drawing together of a few leaves.
The polyphemus moth expands 6 in., and is of a dull ochre yellow color, without tails to the wings. The A. Cecropia expands to 6 1/2 in., with rounded untailed wings of a grizzled dusky brown, with a red eye spot with white centre and black edge. The A. Promethea expands to about 4 in. All these moths make very large cocoons entirely of silk, surpassing in strength those of the silkworm, and capable of being manufactured into very durable fabrics. Two other moths of this family, whose processionary larvae are furnished with severely stinging prickles, are the Saturnia Io, expanding from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 in., and the S. Maia, resting like the former with the wings closed, expanding to about 3 in. 6. Cerato-campadce, or horned caterpillars, being armed with thorny points, some of the anterior long and curved like horns; in the moths the short antennae are feathered at the basal half and thence naked to the tip; the wings, closed when at rest, have no hooks nor bristles; this family, according to Harris, is exclusively American. One of the largest, rarest, and most magnificent is the royal walnut moth (ceratocampa regalis), expanding 5 or 6 in., the fore wings olive-colored with yellow spots and red lines, the hind wings orange red with yellow patches and olive spots; the horns of the formidable-looking larva are unable to wound.
Other horned larvae belong to the genus dryocampa, as the imperial moth (D. imperialis), with yellow wings sprinkled and spotted with purple brown, expanding to about 5 in. 7. Zeu-zeradcc or liepialidce, whose larvae are concealed in the wood and pith of plants like the borers of the hawk moths; these larvae are whitish, soft, nearly naked, with horny heads, and 16 legs; they make imperfect cocoons. Hero belong the ghost moth of Europe (hepialus hu-muli), very injurious to the hop vine; the famous cossus ligniperda, so destructive to the elm and willow; and various borers of the locust tree in this country, the carpenter moths of the genus xyleutes (Newman), which includes the G. ligniperda; the last are sometimes called goat moths from their strong odor. 8. Psychadae, or sack-bearers, from the larvae bearing about with them cases in which they live, made of bits of straw, leaves, and sticks, and lined with silk; they undergo their change within these; here belong the genera psyche, ceceticus (drop or basket worms), and perophora. 9. Notodontadae, so called from the hunched or toothed back of the lame; some are naked, others slightly hairy, with 16 legs, of which the last pair are sometimes modified into a forked caudal appendage; some seem to be without legs, showing only the soles of the feet.
Here belong the odd-shaped limacodes or slug caterpillars, found on forest and orchard trees; the dicranara or fork-tails, the last pair of legs being held upward; and the various species of the old genus notodonta, as the N. unicornis and concinna.
Salt-marsh Caterpillar (Arctia acriea). a. Pupa, b. Moth.
American Tent Caterpillar (Clisiocampa Americana). a. Cocoon, b. Moth.
Noctua Or Owlet Moths, equivalent to the noctualites of Latreille, so called from their flying chiefly at night like owls. This tribe contains many thick-bodied and swift-flying moths, which generally have long and tapering antennae, long tongue, distinct feelers, wings fastened by bristles and hooks and roofed when at rest; the colors are usually dull, and shades of gray or brown; the larvae are for the most part naked, slow-moving, usually with 16 legs, and nearly cylindrical; some make cocoons, while others go into the ground to transform. Their injury to vegetation is considerable. Among them are the maple moths (apatela) of America and Europe; the nonagrians, like the spindie worms; the agrotidians or rustic and dart moths and out worms; and the mamestrians, like the zebra, painted, and wheat caterpillars, and cotton worms.
Geometrce Or Phalce-Nitesof Latreille, including the geometers, span worms, and loopers, so called from their manner of moving. The characters of this tribe are sufficiently given under Canker Worm. It contains the genusphalcena, which has been divided into many subgenera.
Pyralides Or Delta Moths (included in the deltoides and tineites of Latreille), nearly allied to the geometers, and so called from the triangular A form of the closed wing; the body is long and slender, the fore wings rather narrow and elongated, antenna long and generally simple, and the legs slender; most of them fly by night, preferring moist localities. Here belong the meal moth (pyralis farinalis), the grease or tabby moth, the day-flying simaethis (remarkable for their gyrations after alighting), the aquatic hydrocampa, etc. (living in cylindrical leafy cases in the larva state), and the hop-vine kypena.
Tortrices Or Leaf-Rollers, so named from the habit of most of their larvae of making rolls of leaves fastened by silk, serving both for habitations and food; they have 16 legs, and are mostly naked. The moths rarely expand more than an inch, and carry their wings when at rest like a steep roof; the fore wings are very broad at the shoulders, and are generally prettily banded and spotted; the hind wings are plain; the antennas thread-like, the tongue short, the body thick, and the legs short; they fly only at night, and are most abundant in midsummer. The bud caterpillars are frequently very injurious in orchards and flower gardens, fastening the tender leaves together and eating the substance of the bud, and some bore into and destroy young fruits; apricots, peaches, and plums often suffer much in this way. The turpentine moths pierce the tender shoots and terminal buds of the fir and pine trees, the seat of their depredations being indicated by the oozing of the resin. The moth of the apple worm (carpocapsa pomonella), whi.h expands three fourths of an inch, may be known by a large oval brown spot, edged with copper, on the hinder margin of the fore wings; they lay their eggs on the young summer apples in July evenings, dropping them one by one in the hollow at the blossom end of the fruit; the larvae are hatched in a few days, and at once burrow toward the centre, only one being commonly found in each fruit; it reaches the full size in about three weeks' by which time it has burrowed in various directions, getting rid of the refuse fragments by a hole which it gnaws in the side, through which it also escapes after the premature fall of the fruit; they make silken cocoons, and are not generally changed to moths till the following summer.
Pears and cranberries are affected by a worm apparently the same as hat of the apple.
Tinea (Tineites Latr) the moths par excellence of the household, the destroyers of clothing, carpets, furs, etc, and those referred to in the Scriptures and by the old writers. The larva) are smooth, with 16 feet, living usually in cases made from the fragments of the substances which they devour fastened together with silk, in which they move freely and unseen. Though the smallest of the lepi-doptera, they are among the most beautiful and the most destructive. Here belong, among the crambidce, the bee or wax moth (galleria cereana), noticed under Bee; among the tinea-dee, the clothes moth (tinea vestianella), carpet moth (T. tapetzella), fur moth (T. pellionella), hair moth (T. crinella), and grain moth (T. granella); and among the yponomentadm, the pack moth (anacampsis sarcitella), destructive to wool and its fabrics, and the Angoumois grain moth (butalis cerealella). The best preventives against moths in household articles are to put them away before May or June where the moths cannot reach them when about to lay their eggs; to expose them to the air and sun for hours, after a good beating to dislodge any insects or eggs; to brush over their retreats with turpentine; to strew camphor, black pepper, tobacco, or shavings of Russia leather under or among carpets, woollens, furs, or feathers, when they are put away for the summer; the use of camphor wood or cedar trunks; corrosive sublimate washings, tobacco, and sulphur fumigations, and the action of heat and steam.
For an account of the American and European grain moths, see Wheat Moth.
Alucitce Or Feather-Winged Moths, equivalent to the pterophorites of Latreille. These may be known by the longitudinal division of their wings into narrow fringed branches like feathers; the antennae are slender and tapering, the tongue long, the body and legs long and slender, the wings at rest not covering the body, but standing out like a folded fan; the flight is slow and feeble, sometimes diurnal, sometimes nocturnal; the larvae are short and thick, slightly hairy, with 16 legs, living on leaves and flowers, and constructing no cases. There are few species, and they are rarely injurious to man.