Anestia ombrophanes Meyrick, 1886
Clouded Footman
(one synonym: Thallarcha fuscogrisea Rothschild, 1913)
LITHOSIINAE,   ARCTIIDAE,   NOCTUOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Mike & Pat Coupar,
and
Stella Crossley

Anestia ombrophanes
(Photo: courtesy of Irene Coates, Warragul, Victoria)

These Caterpillars black with a complex pale yellow pattern on the back of each segment, including two thin pale yellow lines running along the the back. The caterpillars have a row of orange spots along each side, and have long fine hairs which project to the front, to the rear, and sideways.

Anestia ombrophanes
(Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, at Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)

The caterpillars feed on primitive plants such as:

  • Lichen,
  • Green Algae ( Bracteacoccus species ), and
  • Black Algae ( Gloeocapsa magma ).

    .

    They grow to a length of about 2 cms.

    Anestia ombrophanes pupa
    male cocoon and pupa
    (Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, at Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)

    The caterpillars form a pupa inside a sparse cocoon made of silk and larval hairs, attached to a fence, a tree, or a wall. The male and female pupae have different colour patterns. The pupae of both sexes is white with scattered black markings. Additionally the male has a row of orange spots along each side.

    Anestia ombrophanes pupa
    female cocoon and pupa
    (Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, at Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)

    The female pupa is also white with scattered black markings, but with a row of pink spots along each side, and aso a pink band across each segment.

    Anestia ombrophanes
    male
    (Photo from: "Flying Colours", Coupar & Coupar, 1992)

    The adult male has black and white forewings, and plain pale yellow hindwings. The male moths have a wingspan of about 2 cms.

    Anestia ombrophanes male
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Peter Marriott, Moths of Victoria - Part 2)

    Underneath: the male moth is yellow with black areas at the tips ofeach wing.

    Anestia ombrophanes pupa
    male underside
    (Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, at Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)

    The adult female has a length of about 1 cm. She is wingless and flightless, and has a large grey body with pink spots. The female stays near her cocoon, and the male copulates with her there.

    Anestia ombrophanes female
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Peter Marriott, Moths of Victoria - Part 2)

    The species may be found over much of the southern half of Australia, including:

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

    Anestia ombrophanes eggs
    eggs laid on an empty cocoon which still contains the pupal and final larval skins
    (Photo: courtesy of Daniel Heald, Rockingham, Western Australia)

    The eggs are smooth, white and oval, with a diameter of about 1/2 mm, and laid typically by a female in an irregular cluster of 20 to 40, on the cocoon from which she emerged.

    Anestia ombrophanes family
    male mating with a female on her empty cocoon
    on which she has already laid some probably infertile eggs
    (Photo: courtesy of Irene Coates, Warragul, Victoria)

    There is a suspicion that this is the same species as Anestia semiochrea (Butler 1886) as Butler and Meyrick published nearly simultaneously, and probably had no idea what the other was publishing.


    Further reading :

    Pat and Mike Coupar,
    Flying Colours,
    New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 36.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 2,
    Tiger Moths and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (A)
    ,
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2009, pp. 20-23.

    Edward Meyrick,
    Revision of Australian Lepidoptera. I,
    Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales,
    Series 2, Volume 1, Part 3 (1886), p. 746, No. 83.


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    (updated 1 May 2013, 1 January 2018)