Fruit Piercing Moth
also known as Eudocima phalonia (Linnaeus, 1763)
CALPINAE, NOCTUIDAE, NOCTUOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of Melissa Macrokanis, Broome, Western Australia)
This Caterpillar is dark brown or black with white speckles, and an orange blotch each side of each segment. It has two eye-spots each side of the abdomen behind the thorax. When threatened, it curls its head under exposing the eye-spots, and at the same time lifting its tail.
The caterpillars feed on various plants, including:
The adult moths have fawn forewings. The males have a vague pattern of pale and dark patches.
The females have a more complex pattern including a small white triangle near the middle of each forewing, connecting to a pale streak across the wing. The hindwings of both sexes are bright yellow, with a broad dark border and a big dark comma in the middle.
The undersides of the forewings of both sexes each have a yellow diagonal band. The undersides of the hindwings are like their upper surfaces.
The labial palps each have a blue patch. The moth has a wingspan of about 9 cms.
The species occurs in Asia and the south-west Pacific, for example:
as well as in Australia in:
The moth of this species is an agricultural pest, causing damage to any sort of fruit by piercing it with its strong proboscis in order to suck the juice. The moth feeds at night, and attacks unripe as well as ripe fruit, for example :
The hole pierced by the moth allows the entry of fungi and other agents which then cause the fruit to rot prematurely.
Pest sprays are of no avail for this pest, as the moths do not die rapidly enough to prevent them from damaging the fruit. Control may be possible using :
Further reading :
Butterflies and Moths,
Collins Eyewitness Handbooks, Sydney 1992, p. 265.
Carl Alexander Clerck,
Icones Insect rariorum,
Volume 2 (1764), Plate 48, figs. 1-4.
Ian F. B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 20.8, pp. 65, 449.
Lois Hughes & John Moss,
Fruit-piercing Moths - Night Raiders,
Issue 67 (December 2012), pp. 1, 4-9,
Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.
John Lahey & Peter Hendry,
Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club Newsletter,
Issue 48 (March 2008), p. 25.
Volume 6 (1763), p. 411, No. 83.
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 136.
Paul Zborowski & Ted Edwards,
A Guide to Australian Moths,
CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 196, 199.
(updated 3 December 2012, 10 April 2016)