Neurostrota gunniella (Busck, 1906)
(previously known as Gracilaria gunniella)
GRACILLARIINAE ,   GRACILLARIIDAE ,   GRACILLARIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

This Caterpillar was introduced deliberately into Australia in the Northern Territory to control an outbreak of:

  • Catclaw ( Mimosa pigra, MIMOSACEAE ).

    The caterpillars bore into young shoots. This damages leaf and seed production by the weed, but does not completely eradicate it. More than 10 other species of insect have also been introduced in an attempt to control the weed.

    The caterpillars also attack other plants from the Mimosa family ( MIMOSACEAE ), including :

  • Sensitive Mimosa ( Mimosa pudica ),
  • Sensitive Neptunia ( Neptunia dimorphantha ),
  • Australian Native Sensitive Plant ( Neptunia gracilis ),
  • Neptunia major,
  • Neptunia monosperma, and
  • Lajula ( Neptunia oleracea ).

    Unfortunately, this last one is an important crop in some Asian countries.

    The adult moth has dark brown forewings, each with a white stripe along the inner margin, a pale yellow diagonal line, and a broad white arc from wingtip to tornus. The hindwings are pale brown. The rest position of the moth is typically with the wings folded around the body, and the legs splayed out. The wingspan is about 1 cm.

    The species is found in endemically in

  • Mexico,
  • U.S.A.,

    and now by introduction in Australia in

  • Northern Territory.


    Further reading :

    August Busck,
    Tineid moths from southern Texas, with descriptions of new species,
    Proceedings of the United States National Museum,
    Volume 30 (1906), pp. 731-732.

    D.R. Davis, R.C. Kassulke, K.L.S. Harley, & J.D. Gillett,
    Systematics, morphology, biology, and host specificity in Neuriostrota gunniella (Busck) (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae), an agent for the biological control of Mimosa pigra. L.,
    Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington,
    Volume 93 (1991), pp. 16-44.


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    (updated 14 December 2009, 27 February 2017)