Pataeta carbo (Guenée, 1852)
(one synonym : Phlegetonia conspicienda Walker, 1858)
EUTELIINAE ,   NOCTUIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Pataeta carbo
(Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Bundaberg, Queensland)

These Caterpillars initially are a translucent yellow. They have been found feeding on the young shoots of plants in MYRTACEAE, including:

  • Gum Trees ( Eucalyptus ), and
  • Bottlebrush ( Callistemon ).

    The caterpillars later become brown with yellow spots, and grow to a length of about 4 cms.

    Pataeta carbo
    (Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Bundaberg, Queensland)

    They pupate under the soil.

    Pataeta carbo
    (Photo: courtesy of Trevor Jinks, North Burnett, Queensland)

    The forewings of the adult moth vary from black to dark brown. With the paler colour, a complex pattern can be discerned. In its natural posture, the hindwings of the moth are covered by the forewings, and the tip of the abdomen is curled upward. If the moth is lying on its back, it can flip itself over using its abdomen.

    Pataeta carbo

    The moths have satin grey hindwings with a dark border, and a wingspan of about 4 cms.

    Pataeta carbo
    male, drawing by George Francis Hampson,

    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Phalænæ in the British Museum,
    Noctuidæ, Volume XI (1912), Plate CLXXV, figure 26,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Ernst Mayr Library, Harvard University.

    The species has been found around the west Pacific, including:

  • Fiji,
  • Papua,

    as well as in Australia in:

  • Western Australia,
  • Northern territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory,
  • Victoria, and
  • South Australia.

    Pataeta carbo
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Trevor Jinks, North Burnett)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig 47.16, p. 456.

    Achille Guenée,
    Noctuélites,
    in Boisduval & Guenée:
    Histoire naturelle des insectes; spécies général des lépidoptères,
    Volume 9, Part 6, Section 1 (1852), p. 302, No. 1108.


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    (updated 14 April 2013)