Fireworm


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Fireworm, common name for the foliage-eating caterpillar of certain small moths. The caterpillar of the black-headed fireworm is less than 2.5 cm (less than 1 in) long. The moth has a small, fat body, thin antennae, broadly elliptical wings, and a scaly cluster at the end of its abdomen. The fireworm devours cranberry leaves so voraciously that the plants finally appear as though burned-hence the caterpillar's common name, fireworm. The yellowheaded fireworm is a related species.

The term fire worm is also applied to a species of bioluminescent marine polychaete worm that occurs along the coasts of Bermuda and Florida. Males and females emit light signals to attract each other in much the same way as fireflies do.

Scientific classification: Fireworms belong to the family Tortricidae, which also includes the codling moth. The black-headed fireworm is classified as Rhopobota naevana, and the yellow-headed fireworm as Acleris minuta. The marine fireworm is classified as Odontosyllis enopla in the order Errantia, class Polychaeta.

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