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@yahoo.com)
and
Cathy Byrne & 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, and with various orange markings. 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 ),
  • Alfalfa ( Medicago sativa, FABACEAE ),
  • Storksbill ( Erodium species, GERANIACEAE ), and
  • Zedweed ( Zaluzianskya divaricata, SCROPHULARICEAE ).

    Ciampa arietaria
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Ian Baird, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory)

    Ciampa arietaria
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Ian Baird, 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.

    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 :

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

    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.

    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), p. 124.


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    (updated 2 May 2010, 7 January 2013, 8 October 2013, 31 December 2015, 28 October 2020)