Xanthodes transversa Guenée, 1852
(one synonym : Trileuca dentalis Smith, 1891)
CHLOEPHORINAE ,   NOLIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Xanthodes transversa
early instar

The Caterpillars of this species are a puzzle. Some are green.

Xanthodes transversa
(Photo: courtesy of Jutta Godwin, Cubberla-Witton Catchments Network, Brisbane)

Some appear to be green with yellow spots. Others have a yellow stripe along the back and along each side, and black splodges on each segment.

Xanthodes transversa

Some have been found with a red spot on the tail, (perhaps distracting predators away from the vulnerable head). It seems that successive instars of the caterpillars have somewhat different colour patterns.

Xanthodes transversa
(Photo: courtesy of Jutta Godwin, Cubberla-Witton Catchments Network, Brisbane)

They have been found feeding on the leaves of various plants in the Hibiscus family ( MALVACEAE ) :

  • Australian Rosella ( Hibiscus heterophyllus ),
  • Garden Hibicus ( Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ),
  • Holyhock Tree ( Hibiscus splendens ),
  • Turk's Hat ( Malvaviscus arboreus ), and
  • Caesarweed ( Urena lobata ).

    Xanthodes transversa
    showing two different instars on the same bush
    (Photo: courtesy of Arthur Stafford, taken near Biarra, Queensland )

    The caterpillars grow to a length of about 4 cms.

    Xanthodes transversa
    (Photo: courtesy of Jutta Godwin, Cubberla-Witton Catchments Network, Brisbane)

    The adult moths are yellow, with three brown arrow-shaped lines across each forewing. They have a wingspan of about 3 cms.

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

    The species is found across south-east Asia, from India to Japan, including

  • Hong Kong,
  • Japan,
  • Thailand,

    and in Australia in

  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.

    Xanthodes transversa
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 48.1, p. 457.

    Achille Guenée, in Boisduval & Guenée,
    Ommatophoridae,
    Histoire naturelle des insectes; spécies général des lépidoptères,
    Volume 6 (1852), p. 211, No. 978.


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    (updated 27 August 2012, 15 January 2014)