Plusiodonta coelonota (Kollar, 1844)
(one synonym : Plusia agens Felder & Rogenhofer, 1875)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

(Photo: courtesy of Kit Law, Hong Kong)

The Caterpillar of this species is black with white markings, particularly on the enlarged last segment. and has an orange head. The caterpillar is missing the first two pairs of prolegs, so walks in a looper fashion. The caterpillar has been found feeding on :

  • Snake Vine ( Stephania japonica, MENISPERMACEAE ), and
  • Barbwire Vine ( Smilax australis, SMILACACEAE ).

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

    The adult moth is brown with a darker diagonal mark across each forewing. The forewings look as though they had a slice cut away from each of the hind margins.

    (Photo: courtesy of Dominic Funnell, Weipa, Queensland)

    There is a crest of scales halfway along the hind margin of each forewing that disguises its shape when the moth is at rest with the wings folded. The moths have a wingspan of about 2.5 cms.

    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    The species occurs over south-east Asia, including

  • Hong Kong,
  • India,
  • Okinawa,
  • Papua New Guinea,

    and in Australia, the species may be found over most of

  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.

    The adult moths have been accused of piercing fruit, particularly grapes and peaches, causing losses to orchard owners.

    drawing by Felder & Rogenhofer, listed as Plusia agens
    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Band 2, Abtheilung 2 (5) (1875), Plate CX, fig. 32,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, p. 449.

    Rudolf Felder & Alois F. Rogenhofer,
    Zoologischer Theil: Lepidoptera,
    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Band 2, Abtheilung 2 (5) (1875), p. 16, and also Plate 110, fig. 32.

    Lois Hughes & John Moss,
    Fruit-piercing Moths - Night Raiders,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 67 (December 2012), pp. 4-9.

    Vincenz Kollar & Ludwig Redtenbacher,
    Aufzählung und Beschreibung der von Freiherrn Carl v. Hügel auf seiner Reise durch Kaschmir und des Himaleya Gebirge gesammelten Insecten,
    in Freiherrn Carl v. Hügel: Kaschmir und das Reich der Siek,
    Stuttgart, Volume 4, Part 2 (1844), p. 482.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 14 August 2008, 27 August 2023)