Pholodes sinistraria (Guenée, 1857)
Sinister Moth
(previously known as : Lophodes sinistraria)
BOARMIINI ,   ENNOMINAE ,   GEOMETRIDAE ,   GEOMETROIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Pholodes sinistraria larva
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

The early and late instars of this Caterpillar are coloured quite differently. When small, they are black with white bands between the segments.

Pholodes sinistraria larva
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

Later instars are reddish-brown with white spots. It is a true looper, with only two pairs of prolegs. When disturbed, it sways slowly from side to side. It has been found feeding on a wide variety of plants:

  • Roses ( Rosa odorata, ROSACEAE ),
  • Camellia ( Camellia japonica, THEACEAE ),
  • Avocado ( Persea americana, LAURACEAE ),
  • Mandarin ( Citrus unshiu, RUTACEAE ),
  • Senna ( Cassia, CAESALPINIACEAE ),
  • Castor Oil (Ricinus communis, EUPHORBIACEAE ),
  • Wattles ( Acacia, MIMOSACEAE ),
  • Lilly Pilly ( Acmena smithii, MYRTACEAE ),

    and is sometimes a pest on :

  • Macadamia Nuts ( Macadamia integrifolia, PROTEACEAE ).

    Pholodes sinistraria pupa

    It pupates without a cocoon under the soil, taking up to a year to metamorphose. The pupa is dark brown and has a length of about 1.5 cms.

    Pholodes sinistraria male
    male
    (Photo : courtesy of Evan Harris)

    The adult moths have a wide wingspan (male 5 cms., female 6 cms.) for their body length : 1.5 cms. The wings have scalloped edges, and wavy patterns of light and dark brown. The overall colour is quite variable, sometimes being nearly black all over. The moths normally rest with wings flat and all four wings exposed.

    Pholodes sinistraria female
    female adult
    (Photo: courtesy of Jeff Keyes, Sportsman Creek Wildlife Refuge)

    The female moths especially have a conspicuous pale bar across the inner part of the costa of both forewings, extending also across the thorax. The females also have thread-like antennae

    Pholodes sinistraria
    underside of female
    (Photo : courtesy of Laura Levens, Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria)

    The male moths often only have some white spots on the leading edge of each forewing. The males have feathery antennae.

    Pholodes sinistraria eggs

    The eggs are pale green and ellipsoidal. They are laid in flat groups of up to 50 on the leaves of foodplants.

    Pholodes sinistraria
    head of female
    (Photo : courtesy of Laura Levens, Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria)

    The moth occurs along most of the eastern side of Australia including:

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory, and
  • Victoria.

    Pholodes sinistraria male
    male, showing underside
    (Photo : courtesy of Donald Hobern, Aranda)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, figs. 36.3, 36.4, pp. 67, 367.

    Peter Hendry,
    Have you seen this moth?,
    Metamorphosis Australia Issue 55 (December 2009), pp. 27-28,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Pat and Mike Coupar,
    Flying Colours, New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 50.


    previous
    back
    caterpillar
    Australian
    Australian Butterflies
    butterflies
    Australian
    home
    caterpillars
    Australian
    Australian Moths
    moths
    next
    next
    caterpillar

    (updated 21 January 2013)