Chrysodeixis eriosoma (Doubleday, 1843)
Green Looper
(one synonym : Plusia adjuncta Walker, 1865)
PLUSIINAE ,   NOCTUIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Chrysodeixis eriosoma

In Sydney, these Caterpillars of this species are a particular pest on:

  • Geranium ( Pelargonium x zonale, GERANIACEAE ),

    which they attack by sitting with their hind pairs of legs on the stem under a leaf, and swinging around chewing a piece out of each of the veins under the leaf, causing the leaf to collapse umbrella-like around them.

    They also attack many other garden plants, including:

  • Dahlia ( Dahlia pinnata, ASTERACEAE ),
  • Beans ( Phaseolus vulgaris, FABACEAE ),
  • Coleus ( Coleus blumei, LAMIACEAE ),
  • Spearmint ( Mentha spicata, LAMIACEAE ),
  • the young shoots and fruit of various types of Citrus: e.g. Lemon, Orange, ( RUTACEAE ), and
  • Tomato ( Lycopersicum esculentum, SOLANACEAE ).

    They have also been found feeding on weeds, such as:

  • Cobblers Pegs ( Bidens pilosa, ASTERACEAE ).

    Chrysodeixis eriosoma
    (Photo: courtesy of Boris Branwhite, Central Coast, New South Wales)

    The larvae are green with a number of faint white lines along the animal's length. They also sometimes have black dots along the sides. Some of their ventral prolegs are missing and this makes them move looper fashion, like the Caterpillars of GEOMETRIDAE. They grow to a length of about 4 cms.

    Chrysodeixis eriosoma
    (Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The pupa is formed under a curled leaf of the foodplant in a sparse cocoon. It is green, often with brown markings which often curiously resemble a face. Pupal duration varies from about a fortnight in summer to about a month in winter.

    Chrysodeixis eriosoma
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The adult moth is dark grey-brown, with bunched hairs on its head which look like a short pair of horns. Males have long orange hair-like scales on either side of the abdomen, which are distinctive for this species, and these are probably the origin of the scientific name, as in Greek, erith = red, and soma = body. On each fore wing of males and females is a silvery figure of eight with the two halves separated, unlike the related species Chrysodeixis subsidens in which they are fused together. The absence of a tiny silver 's' on the fore wings distinguishes it from another related species: Chrysodeixis argentifera. They all have a wingspan of about 3 cms.

    The chemical identities of the sex attractants (Pheromones) for this moth have been elucidated.

    Chrysodeixis eriosoma

    The species occurs throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of eastern Asia and the Pacific islands including :

  • Borneo,
  • China,
  • Cook Islands,
  • Hawaii,
  • Hong Kong,
  • India,
  • New Zealand,
  • Papua,
  • South Africa,

    and also in Australia in

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales
  • Victoria, and
  • Tasmania.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 22.2, pp. 65, 460.

    Pat and Mike Coupar,
    Flying Colours, New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 67.


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    (updated 5 April 2013)