Chlenias zonaea Guest, 1887
Pine Looper or Zoned Crest-moth
(redescribed by Meyrick, 1892)
Don Herbison-Evans,
Cathy Byrne & Stella Crossley

Chlenias zonaea
(Photo: copyright Cathy Byrne)

This Caterpillar is striped with various coloured lines. There is a thin central dorsal yellow line, bounded on each side by two broader black stripes, separated by a yellow lines. Each black stripe contains three fractured white lines. Below the second black stripe on each side, separated by a thin yellow stripe, is a broader off-white stripe running over the spiracles with a red patch on each spiracle. Below this on each side is a brown stripe containing a thin white line, and below this another broad black stripe containing two fractured white lines. Ventrally below this is another broad brown stripe containing a white line, which appears to meet its counterpart from the other side in a white central ventral white stripe.

The true legs are red. The head is pale blue with many black dots, some forming two spotty black stripes each side. The anal plate is pale blue with black lines.

The caterpillar has been found feeding on various plants including:

  • Coastal Daisybush ( Olearia axillaris, ASTERACEAE )
  • Pines ( Pinus species, PINACEAE ), and
  • Cherry Plum ( Prunus cerasifera, ROSACEAE ).

    Chlenias zonaea
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    The caterpillar burrows into the ground to pupate underground.

    The adult moths are grey, with variable streaky patterns on the forewings. At rest, the moths wrap their wings around the body.

    Chlenias zonaea
    adult moth, lying low
    (Photo: copyright Cathy Byrne)

    The eggs are white and oval, and are laid in untidy clumps.

    Chlenias zonaea
    eggs, magnified
    (Photo: copyright Cathy Byrne)

    The species has been found in:

  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania, and
  • South Australia.

    Chlenias zonaea
    (Photo: courtesy of Marilyn Hewish, Moths of Victoria: Part 5)

    The adult moths of the various species in the genus Chlenias are all very variable, and appear to be more variable than the variations between the species. The identification of the specimens pictured here may prove to be wrong when more work is done on this genus.

    Further reading :

    Edward Guest,
    A classified list of Geometrina found around Balhannah, with notes on species,
    Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia,
    Volume 9 (1887), p. 140, No. 21.

    Marilyn Hewish,
    Moths of Victoria: Part 5 - Satin Moths and Allies - GEOMETROIDEA (A),
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2014, pp. 22-23.

    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. 122-123.

    Edward Meyrick,
    Revision of Australian Lepidoptera V,
    Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales,
    Series 2, Volume 6, Part 4 (1892), p. 665, No. 102.

    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.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 17 September 2011, 27 October 2013, 31 December 2015, 13 October 2019, 26 June 2020)