Etiella behrii (Zeller, 1848)
Small Tabby
(one synonym is Alata consociella Walker, 1866)
PHYCITINI,   PHYCITINAE,   PYRALIDAE,   PYRALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of the South Australian Research and Development Institute)

The Caterpillars of this species are green with pink markings and a mottled brown head. The caterpillars are an agricultural pest, feeding inside the developing seedpods of various members of the family FABACEAE, including:

  • Peanuts ( Arachis hypogaea ),
  • Tagasaste ( Cytisus prolifer ),
  • Soybeans ( Glycine species ),
  • Lupins ( Lupinus nanus ),
  • Lucerne ( Medicago sativa ), and
  • Garden Peas ( Pisum sativum ).

    The caterpillar pupates in a cocoon under the soil.


    (Photo: courtesy of Laura Levens, Victoria)

    The adult is brown or grey, each forewing having a transverse orange band near the base and also a white line edged with orange along the costa.


    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    The hindwings have a satin sheen, and are pale brown with darker veins and margins. The moth has a wingspan of about 1 cm.


    underside
    (Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, at Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)

    The eggs are off-white and oval, laid in small clusters on a foodplant.

    The species is found over much of south-east Asia including :

  • China,
  • Indonesia,

    and all of Australia, in:

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.


    (Photo: courtesy of Ian McMillan, Imbil, Queensland)

    The moths of this species can be distinguished from those of the similar Etiella chrysoporella by, among other things, the greyish area of the hind margin near the forewing tornus.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 32.4, pp. 57, 66, 350.

    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. 80.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 134.

    Philipp C. Zeller,
    Exotische Phycideen,
    Isis von Oken,
    Volume 11 (1848), p. 883, No. 2.


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    (updated 8 September 2011, 30 April 2017, 7 June 2019, 3 February 2021)