Thysanoplusia orichalcea (Fabricius, 1775)
Soybean Looper
(also known as Diachrysia orichalcea Holloway, 1976)
PLUSIINAE ,   NOCTUIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


The Caterpillar of this species is a green looper with a yellow dorsal line. It is a global agricultural pest on

  • Sunflowers ( Helianthus annuus, ASTERACEAE),
  • Soybeans ( Glycine max, FABACEAE ), and
  • Potatoes ( Solanum tuberosum, SOLANACEAE ),

    and in Sydney it is a garden pest on :

  • Parsley ( Petroselinum crispum, APIACEAE ).

    It is known to feed on a number of plants for example:

  • Mums ( Chrysanthemum species, ASTERACEAE ),
  • Tickseed ( Coreopsis species, ASTERACEAE ), and
  • Bittersweet ( Solanum dulcamara, SOLANACEAE ).


    The forewings of the adult moth are brown, and each has a beautiful golden patch. The hind wings are fawn coloured, darkening towards the margins. It has a wingspan of about 4 cms.


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

    The species occurs widely, for example in

  • Borneo,
  • India,
  • New Zealand,
  • Spain, and
  • West Africa,
    and has only recently been found in Australia: the first recorded sighting being in 1976 in Queensland. The above specimen was caught in Sydney in 1998. It is now found in
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • Tasmania.


    Ascension Island
    , 1988

    The pheromones for this species have been determined. As an agricultural pest, attempts are being made to control it using:

  • floral attractants,
  • a Baculovirus,
  • the wasp Copidosoma floridanum (ENCYRTIDAE), and
  • the wasp Cotesia ruficrus (BRACONIDAE).


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 22.1, pp. 65, 460.

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Historiae Natvralis Favtoribvs,
    Systema Entomologiae,
    1775, p. 607, No. 70.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 166.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths, CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 197.


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    (updated 10 August 2011, 12 March 2015)