(one synonym : Plusia adjuncta Walker, 1865)
PLUSIINAE, NOCTUIDAE, NOCTUOIDEA
In Sydney, the 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.
(Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Concord, New South Wales)
The caterpillars 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. The caterpillars 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 has black, white, brown and gold forewings, each with complex pattern including an image like a dripping liquid near the middle. The pattern also looks like it is three-dimensional, one part casting a shadow on the rest.
The hindwings are pale brown darkening toward the margins, with rusty brown veins. The moths have a wingspan of about 3 cms. The moths can erect the scales on the head which then look like a big pair of ears.
Males have long orange hair-like scales on either side of the abdomen, which are distinctive for this species, and these are the origin of the scientific name, as in Greek, erith = red, and soma = body.
The absence of a tiny silver 's' on the forewings distinguishes it from related species: Chrysodeixis argentifera. The separted central droplet distinguishes it from related species: Chrysodeixis subsidens has a similar teardrop forming, but which is still attached to its apparent source.
The species occurs throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of eastern Asia and the Pacific islands including :
and also in Australia in
and possibly imported accidentally into
Further reading :
Trans. New Zealand Inst.,
Volume 13 (1881), p. 238.
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 22.2, pp. 65, 460.
Pat and Mike Coupar,
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.
Mrs. E.M. Swainson,
quoting Harrison G. Dyar & T.D.A. Cockerell,
Notes on Lepidopterous Larvae from Jamaica,
Journal of the New York Entomological Society,
Volume 9 (1901), pp. 81-82.
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. 170.
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 166.
(written 12 August 1996, updated 3 June 2018, 4 April 2019, 24 October 2020)