Zermizinga sinuata (Warren, 1897)
Lucerne Looper, Spider Moth
(previously known as Mnesigea sinuata)
BOARMIINI,   ENNOMINAE,   GEOMETRIDAE,   GEOMETROIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Zermizinga sinuata larva
(Photo: courtesy of Lyn Loger, Nathalia, Victoria)

These caterpillars have brown stripes. They are loopers, with only two pairs of prolegs.

Zermizinga sinuata larva
(Photo: courtesy of Lyn Loger, Nathalia, Victoria)

They have a preference for feeding on various FABACEAE, such as:

  • Red Lotus ( Lotus cruentus ),

    and is sometimes a pest on:

  • Lucerne ( Medicago sativa ),

    They have also been found feeding on :

  • Spearmint ( Mentha spicata, LAMIACEAE ) and
  • Monterey Pine ( Pinus radiata, PINACEAE ).

    Zermizinga sinuata male
    male adult
    (Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, at Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)

    The male moths have well developed wings, that are a speckled fawn with a complex pattern of curvy dark brown and orange lines and patches.

    Zermizinga sinuata male
    close-up of male adult showing hairs around neck
    (Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, at Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)

    The male moths have a collar of long hair-like scales each side of the head. The male moths have a wingspan of about 3 cms.

    Zermizinga sinuata female
    female adult
    (Photo: courtesy of Lyn Loger, Nathalia, Victoria)

    The female moths have undeveloped wings, with brown and orange stripes. The females cannot fly. They do rather resemble a spider.

    Zermizinga sinuata female underside
    female underside
    (Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, at Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)

    The species occurs in :

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

    A similar species Zermizinga indocilisaria occurs in New Zealand.

    Zermizinga sinuata male underside
    male underside
    (Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, at Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, p. 67.

    William Warren,
    New genera and species of moths from the Old-world regions in the Tring Museum,
    Novitates Zoologicae,
    Volume 4 (1897), p. 95, No. 225.


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    (updated 31 March 2013, 16 September 2013, 18 March 2018)