corn earworm or cotton bollworm, destructive larva of a moth, Heliothis zea. Also known as tomato fruitworm, the larva attacks a variety of crops, boring into and feeding on the developing fruits—tomatoes, corn kernels, or cotton bolls. The adult moth is pale yellow. It is classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Lepidoptera, family Noctuidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.