Heortia vitessoides (Moore, [1885])
(previously known as Tyspana vitessoides)
ODONTIINAE,   CRAMBIDAE,   PYRALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Heortia vitessoides
(Photo: courtesy of Roger Kendrick)

The caterpillars of this species are pale green with a broad knobbly black line along each side. Their head is dark brown.

Heortia vitessoides
drawing by Frederic Moore, listed as Tyspana vitessoides
,
The Lepidoptera of Ceylon, L. Reeve, London, 1886, Plate 178, fig. 3a,
image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

These caterpillars have been found feeding on :

  • Sumac ( Rhus, ANACARDIACEAE ) and
  • Agarwood ( Aquilaria malaccensis, THYMELACEAE ).

    On the latter in south-east Asia: the caterpillars are a pest. The caterpillars live in a group in a shelter made by joining a number of leaves together with silk. The caterpillars drop on silk threads if disturbed.

    Heortia vitessoides
    drawing by Frederic Moore, listed as Tyspana vitessoides
    ,
    The Lepidoptera of Ceylon, L. Reeve, London, 1886, Plate 178, fig. 3a,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    When mature, the caterpillars descend and pupate in the soil.

    Heortia vitessoides
    (Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland)

    The adults have a striking pattern on the forewings of black on pale yellow. The hindwings are white with a broad black margin. The moths have a yellow and black banded abdomen. The wingspan is about 3 cms.

    The eggs are yellowish-green, and are flattened. They are laid in an overlapping cluster, like tiles on a roof.

    Control of the pest has being attempted using:

  • the entomopathegenic fungus Beauveria bassiana.

    Heortia vitessoides
    drawing by Frederic Moore, listed as Tyspana vitessoides
    ,
    The Lepidoptera of Ceylon, L. Reeve, London, 1886, Plate 178, fig. 3,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    This species is found in south-east Asia, including

  • Fiji,
  • Hong Kong,
  • India,
  • Thailand,

    as well as in Australia in

  • north Queensland.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 9.45, p. 354.

    Frederic Moore,
    The Lepidoptera of Ceylon,
    L. Reeve, London, Volume 3 (1886), pp. 256-257, and also Plate 178 figs. 3, 3a.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 29.


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    (updated 18 February 2010)