Arcte coerula (Guenée, 1852)
Ramie Moth
(formerly known as Cycytodes coerula)
CALPINAE ,   NOCTUIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Arcte coerula
(Photo: courtesy of Maaki Ikeda)

This spectacular Caterpillar is yellow with a black band along each side containing a row of red spots, and with narrow black lines across the back The head and legs are black. It has sparse stiff long white hairs.

Arcte coerula
(Photo: courtesy of Michael Reid, Lake Eacham, Queensland)

It has been found feeding on :

  • Japanese False Nettle ( Boehmeria nipononivea, URTICACEAE ), and
  • Nettle Tree ( Boehmeria australis, URTICACEAE ).

    When threatened, they are inclined to swing the front part of the body from side to side. The caterpillars darken with age, and grow to a length up to 10 cms.

    Arcte coerula
    male, drawing by Achille Guenée, listed as Cycytodes coerula
    ,
    in Boisduval & Guenée: Ommatophoridae, Histoire naturelle des insectes,
    Volume 7, Part iii (1852), Plate 13, fig. 10,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    The adult moths have dark brown patterned forewings. The hindwings are dark blue with a black margin and a black submarginal band.

    The species is found across south-east Asia, including:

  • Fiji,
  • India,
  • Japan, and
  • Taiwan,

    as well as in Australia in

  • Queensland, and
  • Norfolk Island.


    Further reading :

    Achille Guenée,
    Ommatophoridae,
    in Boisduval & Guenée,
    Histoire naturelle des insectes,
    Volume 7, Part iii (1852), pp. 41-42, No. 1370, and also Plate 13, fig. 10.

    George Francis Hampson,
    The Macrolepidoptera Heterocera of Ceylon,
    Illustrations of typical specimens of Lepidoptera Heterocera in the British Museum,
    Part 9 (1893), p.104, No. 529, and also Plate 176, fig. 5.


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    (updated 23 August 2013, 10 April 2015)