(one synonym : Plusia adjuncta Walker, 1865)
PLUSIINAE , NOCTUIDAE , NOCTUOIDEA
(Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Concord, New South Wales)
In Sydney, these Caterpillars of this species are a particular pest on:
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:
They have also been found feeding on weeds, such as:
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.
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.
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.
The species occurs throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of eastern Asia and the Pacific islands including :
and also in Australia in
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.
with Adam White :
List of the annulose animals hitherto recorded as found in New Zealand with descriptions of some new species,
in: Ernest Dieffenbach : Travels in New Zealand,
John Murray, London 1843, Volume 2, p. 285, No. 117.
(written 12 August 1996, updated 5 April 2013)