Ciampa arietaria (Guenée, 1857)
Brown Pasture Looper or Forked Pasture-moth
(one synonym : Chlenias crambaria Felder & Rogenhofer, 1875)
NACOPHORINI ,   ENNOMINAE ,   GEOMETRIDAE ,   GEOMETROIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Cathy Young & Stella Crossley

Ciampa arietaria
(Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, at Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)

These Caterpillars are dark brown with a pale line each side along the shoulders. The head is pale brown with many small pale markings. The caterpillars are inclined to rest at the bottom of a foodplant curled up, looking like a new unfurled leaf of the plant.

Ciampa arietaria
(Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, at Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)

The caterpillars are a pest on pastures, feeding on many herbaceous plants, including :

  • Capeweed ( Arctotheca calendula, ASTERACEAE ),
  • Stemless Thistle ( Onopordum acaulon, ASTERACEAE ),
  • Lupins ( Lupinus nanus, FABACEAE ),
  • Alfalfa ( Medicago sativa, FABACEAE ),
  • Storksbill ( Erodium species, GERANIACEAE ), and
  • Zedweed ( Zaluzianskya divaricata, SCROPHULACEAE ).

    Ciampa arietaria
    (Photo: courtesy of Donald Hobern, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory)

    The adult moths have brown or grey forewings, with a pattern of forked and zigzag light and dark lines. The hindwings are a uniform pale fawn colour. The moths have a wingspan of about 3 cms.

    Ciampa arietaria
    male, underside, showing pale hairy labial palps and dark forked horn
    (Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, at Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)

    The moths display their labial palps pointing forward, and also have a forked horn on the head.

    The species occurs over most of Australia, including

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

    Ciampa arietaria
    female, drawing by Felder & Rogenhofer, listed as Chlenias crambaria
    ,
    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Band 2, Abtheilung 2 (5) (1875), Plate CXXXIII, fig. 12,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    The eggs are white and roughly spherical. They are laid in arrays of about 100 on any available surface, even a stem of grass.

    Ciampa arietaria
    eggs
    (Photo: courtesy of P. Carwardine, Moths of Victoria: Part 5)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 34.12, pp. 67, 364.

    Rudolf Felder & Alois F. Rogenhofer,
    Zoologisher Theil,
    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Band 2, Abtheilung 2 (5) (1875), p. 6, and also Plate 133, fig. 12.

    Achille Guenée,
    Uranides et Phalénites II,
    in Boisduval & Guenée:
    Histoire naturelle des insectes; spécies général des lépidoptères,
    Volume 9, Part 10 (1857), pp. 239-240, No. 1316.

    Marilyn Hewish,
    Moths of Victoria: Part 5 - Satin Moths and Allies - GEOMETROIDEA (A),
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2014, pp. 20-21.

    Cathy Young,
    Characterisation of the Australian Nacophorini and a Phylogeny for the Geometridae from Molecular and Morphological Data,
    Ph.D. thesis, University of Tasmania, 2003.


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    (updated 2 May 2010, 7 January 2013, 8 October 2013, 31 December 2015)