Ectropis bispinaria (Guenée, 1857)
(formerly known as Tephrosia bispinaria)
Loop-line Bark Moth
BOARMIINI,   ENNOMINAE,   GEOMETRIDAE,   GEOMETROIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


male caterpillar
(Photo: courtesy of Mike and Pat Coupar, Moths of Victoria: Part 7)

These Caterpillars are brown loopers with a blunt pair of horns on the tail, The males have a black and white mark about halfway along on each side, and the females are plain brown.


female caterpillar
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

The caterpillars rest characteristically sitting on their last pairs of legs, with their other prolegs folded into the body. This makes the caterpillar look like a twig, unless it happens to be standing on the edge of a leaf ! If harassed, early instars drop down on a silken thread until danger passes, then they laboriously climb back up it.

The caterpillars have been found feeding on a wide variety of plants, including:

  • Dahlia ( Dahlia pinnata, ASTERACEAE ),
  • Avocado ( Persea americana, LAURACEAE ),
  • Roses ( Rosa odorata, ROSACEAE ),
  • Lemon ( Citrus limon, RUTACEAE ),

    as well as the Australian natives:

  • Australian mulberry ( Hedycarya angustifolia, MONIMIACEAE ) and
  • Silky Oak ( Grevillea robusta, PROTEACEAE ).

    They grow to a length of about 4 cms. They have been found to burrow down about 2 cms. into the soil to pupate.

    The adult is a variable brownish fawn colour, with wavy dark lines on the wings. Like most Ectropis species, it has a blurry dark blotch near the middle of each forewing, and dark marks on the first abdominal segment. which align with wavy dark lines on the hindwings when the moth is at rest. Like most geometrids, the moth rests with wings outspread. The adults are similar to those of Ectropis excursaria, except Ectropis bispinaria has a smoothly curved dark submarmarginal line on each hindwing extending from hind margin to costa.


    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Marilyn Hewish, Moths of Victoria: Part 7)

    The female moth has a wingspan of about 4 cms., but the male has only a span of 3 cms. The males and females have slightly different patterns. The antennae are thread-like on the female, but the male has very small pectinations giving the antennae a thickened appearance.


    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Marilyn Hewish, Moths of Victoria: Part 7)

    Specimens have been collected in

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria, and
  • Tasmania.


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


    Further reading :

    Pat and Mike Coupar,
    Flying Colours, New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 44.

    Achille Guenée,
    Uranides et Phalénites,
    in Boisduval & Guenée: Histoire naturelle des insectes; spécies général des lépidoptères,
    Volume 9, Part 9 (1857), pp. 266-267, No. 414.

    Marilyn Hewish,
    Moths of Victoria: Part 7,
    Bark Moths and Allies - GEOMETROIDEA (D)
    ,
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2016, pp. 18-19, 30-31.


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    (updated 16 September 2013, 6 July 2018)