Neogalea sunia (Guenée, 1852)
Catabena Moth
(formerly known as Xylomyges sunia)
CUCULLIINAE ,   NOCTUIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
&
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Alan Fletcher Rearch Station, Brisbane, Queensland)

This caterpillar is brown with orange bands and a lot of long narrow dark stripes. It has reduced prolegs, and walks in a looper fashion.

The caterpillar pupates in a cocoon attached to a foodplant stem.


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

The adult moth has brown forewings, with a complex light and dark pattern of lines. The hindwings are white shading darker toward the margins. The wingspan is about 3 cms.


female, drawing by George Francis Hampson, listed as Neogalea braziliensis
,
Catalogue of Lepidoptera Phalænæ in the British Museum,
Noctuidæ, Volume VI (1906), p. 8, figure 2,
image courtesy of Internet Archive, digitized by Gerstein Library, University of Toronto.

This species was introduced deliberately into Australia from the USA to control the weed :

  • Lantana ( Lantana camara, VERBENACEAE ).


    drawing by Herbert Druce, listed as Xylina esula
    ,
    in Godman & Salvin (1889): Biologia Centrali-Americana,
    Insecta: Lepidoptera-Heterocera, Volume 3, Plate 28, figure 1,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    The species occurs naturally in

  • Caribbean Islands, and
  • U.S.A.,
    and was introduced in 1955 into
  • Hawaii,
    and in 1962 & 1969 into
  • South Africa,

    as well as later in 1957 and 1962 into Australia, and is now found for example in

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • Norfolk Island.


    Further reading :

    Achille Guenée, in Boisduval & Guenée,
    Apamidae,
    Histoire naturelle des insectes; spécies général des lépidoptères,
    Volume 9, Part 5 (1852), p. 149, No. 238.

    Ebbe S. Nielsen, Edward D. Edwards, & T.V. Rangsi (eds),
    Checklist of Australian Lepidoptera,
    CSIRO Publishing, 1996, pp. 328, 338, 379.


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    (updated 15 August 2012, 2 April 2017)