Utetheisa pulchella, Crete - photo © K. Bormpoudaki

Utetheisa pulchella, Crete - photo © K. Bormpoudaki

The Family Erebidae (Erebid Moths)

The Family Erebidae

The family Erebidae (Erebid Moths) includes moths that are members of the superfamily Noctuoidea, formerly a subfamily of Noctuidae. They are found on all continents except Antarctica. The family is among the largest families of moths by species count and contains a wide variety of well-known macromoth groups. This family is ubiquitous and contains many agricultural pests.

The adults range from very small in the Micronoctuini (Hypenodinae) to the often large Erebinae. The sizes of the adults range from among the largest of all moths to the smallest of the macromoths. The coloration of the adults spans the full range of dull, drab, and to vivid, contrasting, and colorful.

Among the Noctuoidea, the Erebidae moths can be broadly defined by the wing characteristics of the adults with support from phylogenetic studies.

The Erebidae can be most easily confused with the Noctuidae and Geometridae. Erebid caterpillars are very variable and difficult to characterize. All three families include caterpillars that can be classified as loopers, with varying degrees of proleg loss and reduction; semi-loopers occur across the family. They range in form from the hairy, ‘woolly-bear’ caterpillars of the Arctiinae (Tiger moths) and Lymantriinae (Tussock moths) to stout, patterned and smooth larvae of many other subfamilies.

Erebid larvae are often green, brown, or yellow. Most species typically pupate in a sparse cocoon under a leaf of their foodplant or between dead leaves in ground debris.

The following species are representative species of the Erebidae moths that have been photographed on the island of Crete. You can obtain more information about each species, by selecting the relative species icon. The list of Erebidae species is nondefinitive.

List of Erebidae species in Crete