Brithys crini (Fabricius, 1775)
Lily Borer
(one synonym : Noctua dominica Cramer, 1782)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

(Photo: courtesy of Glenda Rode-Bramanis, Bli Bli, Queensland)

This caterpillar is black with white spots, with sparse black hairs.

showing underside and head
(Photo: courtesy of Jude Lattaway, Burpengary, Queensland)

The head, tail segment, legs and underside generally are orange, with black spots.

(Photo: courtesy of Glenda Rode-Bramanis, Bli Bli, Queensland)

It feeds on various plants from the family AMARYLLIDACEAE, including :

  • Field Lily ( Crinum angustifolium ),
  • Spider Lily ( Hymenocallis littoralis ),
  • Jonquil ( Narcissus jonquilla ),
  • Sea Daffodil ( Pancratium maritimum ),
  • Blue Amaryllis ( Worsleya procera ),
  • White Windflower ( Zephyranthes candida ),

    as well as :

  • Crocus ( Crocus tommasinianus, IRIDACEAE ).

    (Photo: courtesy of Peter Marriott,
    taken in Peter Mackey's garden at Mt Eerwah, Queensland)

    The caterpillar often bores into the stems, or eats the flesh inside the leaves staying inside the intact translucent epidermis. On average, a caterpillar has been reported to eat 240 square centimetres of leaf in its lifetime. The caterpillar grows to a length of about 5 cms.

    (Photo: courtesy of Roaminoz Crew, Burpengary, Queensland)

    The pupa is formed naked underground.

    (Photo: courtesy of Larney Grenfell, Witta, Queensland)

    The adult moth has brown forewings each with subtle pattern, including a variable irregular pale grey dark-edged band across the middle, and a broad pale brown band along the hind margin. The hind wings are off-white, darkening toward the margins.

    (Photo: courtesy of Larney Grenfell, Witta, Queensland)

    The wingspan is about 4 cms. The pheromones have been elucidated.

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

    The eggs are pale yellow and spherical, and laid in regular arrays of about 40 on the leaf of a foodplant.

    (Photo: courtesy of Paolo Mazzei, Diego Reggianti, Ilaria Pimpinelli, Rome, Italy)

    The species occurs in :

  • Africa,
  • Asia,
  • Central America, and
  • Europe,

    and also in Australia including:

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.

    drawing by Pieter Cramer, listed as Noctua dominica,

    Uitlandsche kapellen voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen,
    Amsterdam Baalde, Volume 4 (1782), Plate CCCXCIX, fig. H,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 49.18, p. 465.

    Pieter Cramer,
    Uitlandsche kapellen voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen,
    Amsterdam Baalde, Volume 4 (1782), p. 238, Fig. H, and also Plate 399, fig. H..

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Historiae Natvralis Favtoribvs,
    Systema Entomologiae,
    1775, p. 587, No. 108.

    Ron May,
    Observations of moth and parasitoid,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 62 (September 2011), pp. 13-14,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Ron May,
    Brithys crini in Australia: from bush to suburbia,
    Bulletin, Entomological Society of Queensland,
    Volume 28, Issue 4, 2000, pp. 73-76.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 10 April 2011, 4 June 2018, 27 May 2019, 7 May 2020)