Ectropis bispinaria (Guenée, 1857)
(formerly known as Tephrosia bispinaria)
Loop-line Bark Moth
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Male Caterpillar
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

These Caterpillars are brown loopers, with the males having a black and white mark about halfway along on each side

Female Caterpillar
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

and the females being plain brown. 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.

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

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 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 for a smoothly curved dotted second submarmarginal line extending from hind margin to costa on each hindwing.

    (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 is threadlike on the female and the male has small pectinations giving the antennae a thickened appearance.

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

    Specimens have been collected in

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

    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.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 16 September 2013, 5 August 2017)