Proteuxoa tortisigna (Walker, [1857])
(one synonym : Agrotis antipoda Felder & Rogenhofer, 1875)
AMPHIPYRINAE ,   NOCTUIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Proteuxoa tortisigna
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

Various specimens of this Caterpillar collected in Sydney appeared to be feeding on:

  • Grass ( POACEAE ),
  • Geranium ( Pelargonium x zonale, GERANIACEAE ), and
  • dead leaves of Daffodil ( Narcissus pseudonarcissus, AMARYLLIDACEAE ).

    However, specimens were found in September in Melbourne while weeding the garden which appeared to hide during the day, and feed at night on:

  • Grass ( POACEAE ).

    The body colour of the caterpillar is brown, with a light and dark brown tweed-like pattern along the back. The head capsule is black. The caterpillar grows to a length of about 3 cms.

    The caterpillar pupates in the soil, and the adult usually emerges about six months later.

    Proteuxoa tortisigna
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The adult has forewings which are brown except for a cream band along the costa, and a cream dot which merges into the margin. The hindwings are pale brown. The wingspan is about 3 cms.

    Proteuxoa tortisigna
    male, drawing by George Francis Hampson, listed as Ariathisa tortisigna
    ,
    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Phalænæ in the British Museum,
    Volume VIII (1909), Noctuidæ, Plate CXXXI, figure 27,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Ernst Mayr Library, Harvard University.

    The species occurs over south-eastern Australia, including:

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

    Proteuxoa tortisigna
    male, drawing by Felder & Rogenhofer, listed as Agrotis antipoda
    ,
    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Band 2, Abtheilung 2 (5) (1875), Plate CX, fig. 21,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.


    Further reading :

    Rudolf Felder & Alois F. Rogenhofer,
    Zoologischer Theil: Lepidoptera,
    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Band 2, Abtheilung 2 (5) (1875), p. 2, and also Plate 110, fig. 21

    Francis Walker,
    Noctuidae,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 10, 1857, p. 409, No. 8.


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    (updated 12 April 2013, 4 January 2017)