Proteuxoa sanguinipuncta (Guenée, 1852)
Blood-spotted Noctuid
(one synonym : Mamestra trilineata Walker, 1865)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Proteuxoa sanguinipuncta
(Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

This Caterpillar is brown, black, and cream. Its head and thorax are narrower than the abdomen, and darker in colour. The body is striped, and there is a characteristic white diagonal stripe on each side of the seventh abdominal segment.

We found our specimens at soil level amongst clumps of grass. The caterpillars eat various species of :

  • Grass ( POACEAE ),

    and are a minor pest of pastures. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 4 cms.

    They pupate in the soil debris, and in Melbourne, the adult moths emerged three months later in October.

    Proteuxoa sanguinipuncta
    (Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

    The adult is striking. The forewings are a rich brown colour, with several wavy transverse white lines edged with multiple black chevrons. There are also two black dots ringed with red in the central area of each forewing, and the wings are further decorated with small red flecks and dots. The hindwings are pale brown. The colours fade to plain brown when the moth dies, and museum specimens are a quite dull. The wingspan is about 4 cms.

    Proteuxoa sanguinipuncta
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    The species may be confused with the related species Proteuxoa rubripuncta, but distinguishing them is easy because

  • Proteuxoa sanguinipuncta has black spots partly surrounded with red.
  • Proteuxoa rubripuncta has red spots partly surrounded with black.

    Proteuxoa sanguinipuncta
    (Photo: courtesy of John Bromilow, Ainslie, Australian Capital Territory)

    The species is found in

  • New Zealand,

    as well as in Australia in

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 49.6, pp. 65, 462.

    Achille Guenée,
    in Boisduval & Guenée: Histoire naturelle des insectes; spécies général des lépidoptères,
    Volume 9, Part 6 (1852), pp. 412-413, No. 1276, and also Plate 18, fig. 2.

    Peter B. McQuillan, Jan A. Forrest, David Keane, & Roger Grund,
    Caterpillars, moths, and their plants of Southern Australia,
    Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc., Adelaide (2019), p. 164.

    Peter Marriott & Marilyn Hewish,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 9,
    Cutworms and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (C)
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2020, pp. 6-7, 14-15.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 12 April 2013, 22 August 2019, 19 December 2020)