Psalis pennatula (Fabricius, 1793)
(one synonym is Psalis securis Hübner, 1823)
LYMANTRIIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources, India)

This Caterpillar is hairy with a wide black line along the back, bordered by yellow patches on each segment, each patch having a red line through it. There are two red glands on the back of the penultimate two abdominal segments. There are two black hair pencils on the prothorax, four brown tufts on the first four abdominal segments behind the head, and a wide black tuft of hairs sticking up on the tail.

The caterpillars has been found feeding on various plants in the plant family POACEAE such as

  • Rice, ( Oryza sativa ),
  • Sorghum, ( Sorghum bicolor ),
  • Sugarcane, ( Saccharum officinarum ),
  • Cogon Grass ( Imperata cylindrica ),

    as well as plants in other families such as

  • Tea ( Camellia sinensis, THEACEAE ), and
  • Teak ( Tectona grandis, LAMIACEAE ).


    female, drawing by Jacob Hübner, listed as Psalis securis,

    Neuer oder rarer nichteuropäischer Gattungen,
    Zuträge zur Sammlung exotischer Schmettlinge, Volume 2 (1823), Plate 51, fig. 291,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    The adult moth has forewings in two shades of brown divided by a line from base to wingtip: the anterior section pale brown, and the posterior section darker brown. The hindwings are off-white. The wingspan is about 4 cms.


    underside, female, drawing by Jacob Hübner, listed as Psalis securis,

    Neuer oder rarer nichteuropäischer Gattungen,
    Zuträge zur Sammlung exotischer Schmettlinge, Volume 2 (1823), Plate 51, fig. 292,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    This species occurs in Asia, for example in

  • India,
  • Java,

    as well as in Australia in

  • Queensland.


    Further reading :

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Entomologia Systematica Emendata et Aucta,
    Volume 3, Part 1 (1793), p. 465, No. 183.

    Jacob Hübner,
    Neuer oder rarer nichteuropäischer Gattungen,
    Zuträge zur Sammlung exotischer Schmettlinge,
    Volume 2 (1823), p. 19, No. 146, and also Plate 51, figs. 291, 292.


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    (written 15 December 2015, 27 May 2017)