paper, 576 pp., $35.00
Owlet caterpillars, the wormlike larvae of the group of moths that fly at night, are the subjects of this study of “one of the most successful branches on the tree of life,” according to the authors. They point out that more than 75,000 species are known globally, but it is likely that there are thousands more undescribed at this point. While some owlet caterpillars are significant pests in some habitats, others are recognized as helpful contributors to the welfare of specific environments. This review of known larvae in North America features a section on their morphology, diet, and collection. It also contains a directory of more than 800 known species with some 2,100 photographs. Among the supplemental materials that might be useful to gardeners are a glossary, food plant index, and species and subject indices.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden