Hecatesia thyridion Feisthamel, 1839
(previously known as Prostheta thyridion)
AGARISTINAE,   NOCTUIDAE,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Hecatesia thyridion
Female
(Photo by Carol Page, Little Desert in Western Victoria,
courtesy of Dr David G Hewitt)

The Caterpillars of this species feed on the poisonous plants called:

  • Dodder ( Cassytha species).

    in the plant family LAURACEAE.

    Hecatesia thyridion
    Male, drawing by Baron Feisthamel, in C.P.T. Laplace:
    Voyage autour du monde par les mers de l'Inde et de Chine exécuté sur la Corvette 'La Favorite' pendant les années 1830-32,
    Supplement (1839), pp. 19-20, and also Plate 5, fig. 1.

    The forewings of the adult moths are black with several rows of white spots. The hind wings are black with an irregular orange patch. The abdomen is orange on top and black underneath, with white transverse bands.

    Hecatesia thyridion
    Female: underside
    (Photo by Carol Page, Little Desert in Western Victoria, courtesy of Dr David G Hewitt)

    The males have a curved transparent 'window' in each forewing. They also make a clicking-whistling sound when flying. This is made in flight by a ribbed area on the forewing rubbing against a small protrusion. The noise is probably used to attract females.

    Hecatesia thyridion
    Male: underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The species occurs in

  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.


    Further reading :

    John Alcock, Darryl T. Gwynne and Ian R. Dadour,
    Acoustic signaling, territoriality, and mating in whistling moths, Hecatesia thyridion (Agaristidae),
    Journal of Insect Behavior,
    Volume 2, Number 1 (January 1989), pp. 27-37.

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 22.26, pp. 47, 50, 464.

    Joachim François Philibert Julien Baron Feisthamel,
    Lépidoptères nouveaux recueillis pendant ce voyage,
    in Cyrille Pierre Theodore Laplace :
    Voyage autour du monde par les mers de l'Inde et de Chine exécuté sur la Corvette 'La Favorite' pendant les années 1830-32,
    Paris, A. Bertrand, Supplement (1839), pp. 19-20, and also Plate 5, fig. 1.


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    (updated 19 November 2011)