Coccidiphaga scitula (Rambur, 1833)
(one synonym : Nola exasperata Lederer, 1855)
ACONTIINAE ,   NOCTUIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Coccidiphaga scitula
(Photo: courtesy of the National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Insects, India)

The Caterpillars of this species red with a black head and thorax. The tail half is swollen. The caterpillars are carnivorous. They are of benefit to growers of Olives and other fruit as the caterpillars feed on :

  • Olive Black Scale ( Saissetia oleae, COCCIDAE ).

    The rear prolegs are modified to be suckers to hold onto their prey. The caterpillars encase themselves and their prey in a silk web, and pupate in their web.

    Coccidiphaga scitula
    (Photo: courtesy of the National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Insects, India)

    The adult moths are pale grey with a black or brown head, a white thorax, white bases to the forewings, a black mark by the wingtip of each forewing, and a variable dark wiggly band containing a black mark near the centre across each forewing.

    Coccidiphaga scitula
    Drawing by Rambur, listed as Erastria scitula,
    Suite du Catalogue. Des Lépidoptéres de l'ile de Corse,
    Annales de la Société entomologique de France,
    Volume 2 (1833), Plate 2, fig. 16,
    Image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Ernst Mayr Library, Harvard University.

    The species originated in Europe, but has been introduced deliberately into other countries, so the countries where it may be found now include:

  • France,
  • India,
  • Italy,
  • Spain,

    and also

  • Australia.


    Further reading :

    Jules Pierre Rambur,
    Suite du Catalogue. Des Lépidoptéres de l'ile de Corse,
    Annales de la Société entomologique de France,
    Volume 2 (1833), pp. 26-27, and also Plate 2, fig. 16.


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    (updated 28 May 2009, 11 April 2015)