(previously known as Pterophorus spilodactyla)
PTEROPHORINAE, PTEROPHORIDAE, PTEROPHORIOIDEA
Debbie Matthews & Stella Crossley
(Photo: courtesy of John Weiss, Ian Faithfull, and Nicole Freeman
of the Keith Turnbull Research Institute, Frankston, Victoria)
The Caterpillar feeds on plants in LAMIACEAE including:
About 100 eggs are laid by the female moth, which hatch in a few days. The young caterpillars bore into the developing shoots of the food plant, and work their way down onto more mature foliage. After a few weeks, they pupate, and after another few weeks, the adult moths emerge.
The moth is white with variable faint brown markings, and has spiny legs and multilobed wings.
Starting in 1993: this species was introduced deliberately from France into Australia, particularly by Craig Clarke at the University of Adelaide, in order to control the Horehound weeds. These weeds have flowers with a curved spiny calyx, and develop into burrs as the fruit ripens. These burrs cause problems in the wool industry because they lodge in the fleeces of sheep.
The Horehound Plume Moth is endemic to Europe, including
but now may also be found in
Further reading :
Illustrations and descriptions of the genera of insects found in Great Britain and Ireland,
London, 1827, Vol. 6, Plate 161.
(updated 17 July 2010, 28 May 2018, 27 October 2020)