(one synonym : Agrotis plagifera Walker, 1857)
HADENINAE, NOCTUIDAE, NOCTUOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of Ian Common, from Moths of Australia)
Early instars of this Caterpillar are smooth and mottled black, with pale yellow patches on the sides of the abdomen near the front and the back.
Late instars are brown or green
with faint diagonal markings along the sides,
forming a series of vague chevrons along the back
pointing to the tail.
The tail segment is enlarged.
The caterpillars are an international pest, attacking fruit, particularly:
and they also feed on other agricultural crops and weeds, including :
The caterpillar grows to a length of about 5 cms.
It pupates in a sparse cocoon in the soil. The pupa is brown with four spines at the tip of the abdomen, and has a length of about 3 cms.
The adult moths have brown forewings, each with a variable pattern including a dark roundish patch in the middle often extending to the middle of the costa. The hindwings that are plain brown fading toward the bases. The moths have a wingspan up to 5 cms.
This species may be found mainly in south-east Asia and the south Pacific, including
and the northern two-thirds of Australia including
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 49.17, p. 465.
A recent noctuid to Toowoomba, Qld- the Banana Fruit Caterpillar Tiracola plagiata (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae),
Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club,
Issue 60 (March 2011), p. 12.
Peter Marriott & Marilyn Hewish,
Moths of Victoria - Part 9,
Cutworms and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (C),
Entomological Society of Victoria, 2020, pp. 28-29.
Life history notes on the banana fruit eating caterpillar (Tiracola plagiata Walk.),
Queensland Agricultural Journal,
Volume XXXIII, part 4 (April 1930), pp. 551-561.
E.L. Todd and R.W. Poole,
The American species of the Tiracola plagiata Walker complex,
Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington,
Volume 82, pp 396-400.
List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
Part 11 (1857), pp. 740-741, 'page' 347.
(updated 14 April 2013, 11 July 2019, 7 November 2020, 21 April 2022)