Earias vittella Fabricius, 1794
Spotted Bollworm
(one synonym is Noctua fabia Stoll, 1781)
CHLOEPHORINAE,   NOLIDAE,   NOCTUOIDEA,  
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Earias vittella
late instar
(Photo: courtesy of Narasa Reddy, National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources, Bangalore, India)

The early instars of the Caterpillars of this species are off-white with a brown head. Later instars are dark grey, with orange warts on the back of the thorax and along each side of the abdomen, and an irregular white dorsal patch with black warts.

The caterpillars are a pest on:

  • Okra ( Abelmoschus esculentus ), and
  • Cotton ( Gossypium species ),

    and also feed on various other plants in the family MALVACEAE, including :

  • Australian Native Rosella ( Abelmoschus ficulneus ).

    Earias vittella
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland)

    The adult moths are off-white with a green or brown stripe along the middle of each forewing, and a green thorax. The green colour is inclined to fade to brown in older specimens. The wingspan is about 1.5 cms.

    Earias vittella
    male
    Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, from
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art

    The pheromones for this species have been studied.

    Earias vittella
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Peter Marriott, Moths of Victoria - Part 2)

    The eggs are off-white and spherical, and laid singly on shoots of a foodplant.

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

  • Brunei
  • India,
  • Pakistan,
  • Saudi Arabia,

    and on imported Okra in

  • U.K.,

    and is endemic in Australia in :

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

    Earias vittella
    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 48.9, pp. 65, 458.

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Entomologia Systematica Emendata et Aucta,
    Tome 3, Volume 2 (1794), p. 293-294, No. 27.

    Peter B. McQuillan, Jan A. Forrest, David Keane, & Roger Grund,
    Caterpillars, moths, and their plants of Southern Australia,
    Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc., Adelaide (2019), p. 161.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 2,
    Tiger Moths and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (A)
    ,
    Entomological Society of Victoria,
    2nd Edition 2014, pp. 32-33.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 168.


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    (updated 19 September 2012, 28 April 2018, 28 August 2019, 13 October 2019)