Utetheisa lotrix (Cramer, 1777)
Crotalaria Moth
(previously known as Geometra lotrix)
ARCTIINAE ,   ARCTIIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Utetheisa lotrix caterpillar
(Photo: by Simon Ong, Kununurra, Western Australia, courtesy of Graeme Cocks)

This Caterpillar hatches from a group of eggs laid by its mother on a leaf of the foodplant. It is off-white with complex sets of orange and black or blue spots along the back, and is covered with stiff sparse short hairs. The caterpillar feeds on various species of

  • Rattle-Box ( Crotalaria, FABACEAE ),

    and grows to a length of about 3 cms.

    Utetheisa lotrix larva
    (Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The adult moth is white with black and red patches on its wings, and is very similar to that of Utetheisa pulchelloides. The most obvious difference is having no red spot at the tornus of each fore wing:

    Utetheisa lotrix
    (Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland).

    It has a wingspan of about 3 cms. Its pheromones have been elucidated.

    Utetheisa lotrix
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The species is found around the tropics of much of the world, including :

  • Borneo,
  • Hong Kong,
  • New Guinea
  • Taiwan,

    as well as in Australia in

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

    Utetheisa lotrix
    drawing by Pieter Cramer, listed as Tinea lotrix
    ,
    Uitlandsche kapellen voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen, Plate CIX, fig. E,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    The correct genus name is Utetheisa Hübner, 1819. Sometimes it is listed as Utethesia, but this was a misspelling made by Moore in 1860.

    Utetheisa lotrix
    underside, drawing by Pieter Cramer, listed as Tinea lotrix
    ,
    Uitlandsche kapellen voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen, Plate CIX, fig. F,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 30.13, pp. 46, 434.

    Pieter Cramer,
    Uitlandsche kapellen voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen,
    Amsterdam Baalde, vol. 2 (1777), pp. 20-21, and also Plate 109, figs E, F.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 2,
    Tiger Moths and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (A)
    ,
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2009.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 182.


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    (updated 17 April 2013, 17 April 2016)