(one synonym : Coesa viduella Walker, 1866)
NOLINAE, NOLIDAE, NOCTUOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)
This Caterpillar wears a hat! The hat consists of the accumulated skins of previous moults. Separate skins are each marked by a ridge in the 'hat'.
The eggs are green and cylindrical, with white-edged ridges. The eggs are laid in half a dozen parallel rows, each with a dozen or so eggs, with spaces between the rows.
After hatching, the caterpillars feed gregariously, initially between the rows of eggs. As they grow they sit side by side, and just consume the surface of the leaf they are feeding on, leaving a skeleton of veins behind. Final instars are solitary.
The hairs on the caterpillars cause severe itchy spots on sensitive people.
The species is also an arbicultural pest on trees in the family MYRTACEAE, such as:
as well as
The caterpillar appears yellow, although it is actually grey-brown, but it has a double row of yellow spots along its back, and smaller yellow spots and lines along its sides. It is covered by very fine delicate long white setae. It lacks the first pair of ventral prolegs. It grows to a length of about 2 cms.
The caterpillar spins a tough boat-shaped cocoon in which it pupates. It incorporates fragments of its surroundings into its cocoon, which assist with its strength and camouflage. Those pupating on a cement wall actually pried off bits of sand and cement, and covered their cocoons with them.
After about a month, the grey adult moth emerges It has a pattern of several zigzag dark lines across the forewings, except for one darker gently curved line across the middle. The hindwings are grey with dark veins. The wingspan is about 3 cms. The males and females are similar.
The eggs are laid in neat rows on a leaf of a foodplant.
The species occurs in:
as well as most of Australia, including:
The pest is suspected of thriving on plants fertilised with Nitrogen, which have leaves containing high amino-acid concentrations. The major pheromones are known. Various methods of control are being investigated, including
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, figs. 47.18, 54.8, pp. 67, 457.
Pat and Mike Coupar,
New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 77.
Janet D. Farr,
Biology of the gumleaf skeletoniser, Uraba lugens Walker (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), in the southern jarrah forest of Western Australia,
Australian Journal of Entomology,
Volume 41, Part 1 (January 2002), pp. 61-69.
Gum-leaf Skeletonizer- Uraba lugens (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae),
Issue 59 (December 2010), pp. 18-20,
Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.
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. 160.
Moths of Victoria - Part 2,
Tiger Moths and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (A),
Entomological Society of Victoria, 2009, pp. 30-33.
Tortricites & Tineites,
List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
Part 28 (1863), p. 449, No. 1.
Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
A Guide to Australian Moths,
CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 177.
(updated 1 March 2011, 15 March 2017, 8 November 2020, 22 March 2021)