Aloa marginata (Donovan, 1805)
Donovan's Tiger Moth
(also known as Paramsacta marginata)
ARCTIINAE,   ARCTIIDAE,   NOCTUOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Aloa marginata larva
(Photo: courtesy of Ian Common, from Moths of Australia)

The Caterpillar of this species is dark brown with cream spots, and has lots of brown stiff hairs. It has been found feeding on various herbaceous plants, from the families:

  • ASTERACEAE,
  • BORAGINACEAE,
  • EUPHORBIACEAE,
  • FABACEAE,
  • PLANTAGINACEAE,
  • POLYGONACEAE, and
  • PORTULACACEAE.

    Aloa marginata
    northern form, Bundaberg, Queensland,
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The head, thorax, and wings of the adult moth are basically white. The forewings each have a red and black line along the costa. The hindwings have a number of black spots. The abdomen is usually red, but can be yellow, with a black mark on top of each segment. The wingspan is 4 to 5 cms. The markings on the wings are quite variable. The red in the costal lines of the forewings can be orange or yellow.

    Aloa marginata
    southern form
    (Photo: courtesy of Dianne Clarke, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory)

    Southern forms often have extra straight black lines radiating from the base.

    Aloa marginata
    southern form, drawing by Edward Donovan, listed as Bombyx marginata
    ,
    An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Otaheite and other Islands in the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans,
    London (1803), Plate p. 154, fig 2,
    courtesy of Göttinger Digitalisierungszentrum

    Northern forms tend to have reduced black markings.

    Aloa marginata
    northern form
    (Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Bundaberg, Queensland)

    The female moths can evert a bunch of yellow hairs from the posterior, probably to disperse pheromones to 'call' a mate.

    Aloa marginata
    female moth 'calling'
    (Photo: courtesy of Anne Guy, Kootingal, New South Wales)

    The species is found over most of Australia, including:

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

    Aloa marginata
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

    A form of this moth described as Amsacta eurymochla Turner, 1926, which may be a synonym, occurs also in

  • Tasmania.


    Further reading :

    David Carter,
    Butterflies and Moths,
    Collins Eyewitness Handbooks, Sydney 1992, p. 273.

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, p. 436.

    Edward Donovan,
    General Illustration of Entomology,
    An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Otaheite and other Islands in the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans,
    London (1803), p. 156. and also Plate p. 154.

    Peter Hendry,
    The Australian Arctiid Moths (Lepidoptera: Noctuoidea: Erebidae) with emphasis on Creatonotos Gangis,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 65 (June 2012), pp. 6-7,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 2,
    Tiger Moths and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (A)
    ,
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2009, pp. 28-29,.


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    (updated 26 April 2013, 30 January 2014, 24 November 2015, 11 January 2016, 14 March 2017)