Phrissogonus laticostata (Walker, 1862)
Apple Looper
(one synonym is: Scotosia canata Walker, 1862)
EUPITHECIINI ,   LARENTIINAE ,   GEOMETRIDAE ,   GEOMETROIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
( donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Ted Cadwallader & Stella Crossley

Phrissogonus laticostata

This Caterpillar starts life as one of a number of off-white spheroidal eggs laid by its mother individually.

Phrissogonus laticostata

The Caterpillar has been found feeding on the flower buds of:

  • Sunflowers ( Helianthus annuus, ASTERACEAE ),
  • St. John's Wort ( Hypericum perforatum, CLUSIACEAE ),
  • Wattles ( Acacia species, MIMOSACEAE ), and
  • Goat's Beard ( Clematis aristata, RANUNCULACEAE ),

    but in captivity happily fed on the flower petals from :

  • Roses ( Rosa odorata, ROSACEAE ).

    The Caterpillars grow to a length of about 0.7 cms.

    Phrissogonus laticostata
    Female

    The adult moth is brown with a wavy pattern of darker brown.

    Phrissogonus laticostata
    Male

    The male is notable for the projections on the costa of each fore wing. The wing span is about 1.5 cms.

    Phrissogonus laticostata
    Male
    (Photo courtesy of Ian Peden, Forster)

    The species is found over the south Pacific including, including :

  • New Caledonia,
  • New Zealand,

    and in Australia in:

  • Western Australia,
  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • Norfolk Island,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania, and
  • South Australia.

    Phrissogonus laticostata
    Male, underside

    In Sydney, counts were made of the number of adults coming to a nightly ultra-violet light, and the numbers totalled for each month of the year, showing possibly two generations per year :

    JanFebMarAprMayJun JulAugSepOctNovDec
    7
    6
    2
    0
    0
    0
    2
    5
    40
    8
    0
    16

    Phrissogonus laticostata
    Female, laying an egg
    (Photo: courtesy of Jenni Horsnell, Wagga Wagga)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 37.18, pp. 67, 376.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria: Part 3 - Waves & Carpets - GEOMETROIDEA (C),
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2011, pp. 30-31.


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    (updated 13 September 2013)