Thysanoplusia orichalcea (Fabricius, 1775)
Soybean Looper, Slender Burnished Brass
(also known as Diachrysia orichalcea Holloway, 1976)
Don Herbison-Evans
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 ).

    (Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Sydney, New South Wales)

    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

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

    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.

    Peter Marriott & Marilyn Hewish
    Moths of Victoria - Part 9,
    Cutworms and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (C)
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2020, pp. 8-9.

    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.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 10 August 2011, 12 March 2015, 5 July 2020)