Moth larva (Heliothis zea, family Noctuidae) that damages corn, tomato, cotton, and other seasonal crops. The smooth, fleshy, green or brown caterpillars feed on corn kernels near the tip of the ear and burrow into tomatoes and cotton bolls. Four or five generations of the pale brown adult moths, with wingspans of 1.3 in. (3.5 cm), are produced annually.
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Earworm, a calque of the German Ohrwurm, is a term for a portion of a song or other musical material that becomes "stuck" in a person's "head" or repeats against one's will within one's mind. Use of the English translation was popularized by James Kellaris and Daniel Levitin. Kellaris' studies demonstrated that different people have varying susceptibilities to earworms, but that almost everybody has been afflicted with one at some time or another. A more scientific term for the phenomenon, involuntary musical imagery, was suggested by the neurologist Oliver Sacks in 2007.
There have been claims "that earworms may be songs or tunes that become stuck in the phonological loop, the part of the brain that rehearses verbal information in Baddeley's model of working memory. This usually happens when a person sings the song or hums the tune once and then repeats it in his or her mind." However, this information is not supported by any scientifically published information and was presented only as a guess of an unknown author.
Synonyms for earworms include "Last Song Syndrome, "repetuneitis", or in extreme degree "melodymania". A "repetune" is a song or other musical piece stuck in one's mind. Wanted Words, a feature on CBC Radio One's This Morning hosted by Jane Farrow, also once asked listeners to invent a word for this phenomenon. Submitted entries included "aneurhythm" and "humbug".
Medications that are used to treat Obsessive-compulsive disorder or anxiety can alleviate the symptoms of earworms.