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At times, particularly during spring and autumn, caterpillars of the falselooper moth (Plusia chalcites) become numerous and may partially defoliate beans, potatoes, strawberries and other vegetable and garden plants. Soft foliaged pot plants in sheltered positions may be severely injured. The larvae also feed on weeds. These caterpillars belong to the cutworm family but, unlike most cutworms, they do not shelter in the soil by day but are found on the under surfaces of the foliage.
The eggs are laid singly by the moths, usually on the under sides of the leaves. The caterpillars, which are at first slender bodied almost transparent creatures but later become pale green in colour, may measure up to 1+ inches in length. When crawling over the plant they move with a looping action similar to the true "looms" (Geometridae) and this accounts for the name "falseloopers". When fully fed the caterpillar spins a loose silken cocoon on the underside of the leaf and in this enters the pupal or chrysalis stage. The pupa, which measures slightly less than I inch in length, may be seen through the flimsy cocoon. The larvae are often parasitised by tiny wasp parasites, and in such cases do not change to the pupal stage.