Australian Native Budworm
(one synonym : Chloridea marmada Swinhoe, 1918)
HELIOTHINAE, NOCTUIDAE, NOCTUOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of Alison Milton, Austraian National Botanical Gardens, Australian Capital Territory)
This Caterpillar is an agricultural pest feeding on the foliage of many crops and garden flowers, including :
However, this species does not seem to develop resistance to insecticides like its cousin Helicoverpa armigera does.
The caterpillar is initially pale green, often with black dots and a pattern of thin dark lines running along the body. In later instars , dark lines become less conspicuous.
The caterpillar has a characteristic posture when disturbed: it lifts its head and curls it under the front of the body. If even more disturbed, it lets go and drops, rolling into a spiral.
When fully grown (4 cms.) it pupates in a cocoon under the soil. After about three weeks the adult emerges.
The adult moth has brown forewings with a variable delicate darker tracery. The hindwings are buff with a dark border.
Underneath, it has broad dark subterminal bands on each wing, and a black comma and a black dot under each forewing. The moth has a wingspan of about 4 cms. The chemical identities of the sex attractant compounds for this moth ( pheromones) have been elucidated.
The adult moths look very similar to those of the related species in the same genus : Helicoverpa armigera. However, for Helicoverpa punctigera
The moth migrates over large areas of the country, and is found, for example, in:
and has invaded
The migrations makes control difficult. Attempts to control the species include :
Note that Helicoverpa punctigera is a different species from Heliothis punctifera.
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 50.9, pp. 31, 43-44, 58, 64, 468.
Pat and Mike Coupar,
New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 72.
Peter B. McQuillan, Jan A. Forrest, David Keane, & Roger Grund,
Caterpillars, moths, and their plants of Southern Australia,
Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc., Adelaide (2019), pp. 168-169.
Peter Marriott & Marilyn Hewish,
Moths of Victoria - Part 9,
Cutworms and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (C),
Entomological Society of Victoria, 2020, pp. 32-35.
Heliothine Moths of Australia:
A Guide to Pest Bollworms and Related Noctuid Groups,
CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 1999, pp. 5-7, 11, 12, 14, 125-136, 192-193, 202, Plates 12, 13, 15, 19, 21, 22, 23.
Hans Daniel Johan Wallengren,
Wiener Entomologische Monatsschrift,
Volume 4 (1860), pp. 171-172, No. 58.
Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
A Guide to Australian Moths,
CSIRO Publishing, 2007, pp. 167, 194, 198.
(updated 15 April 2013, 17 September 2013, 15 March 2015, 1 September 2017, 28 December 2019, 4 December 2021)