Palpita austrounionalis Inoue, 1997
Australian Jasmine Moth
SPILOMELINAE,   CRAMBIDAE,   PYRALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


This Caterpillar is green, shading blueish toward the head and the tail. When disturbed, it is inclined to wriggle violently, or drop on a thread. This species is an international pest, feeding on

  • Olive ( Olea europaea, OLEACEAE ),
  • Privet ( Ligustrum vulgare, OLEACEAE ),
  • Jasmine ( Jasminum officinale, OLEACEAE ), and
  • Strawberry Tree ( Arbutus unedo, ERICACAE).

    The caterpillar starts life as an egg which is white and shaped as a flattened sphere. The caterpillars are initially yellow, later becoming green. They grow to a length of about 2 cms.


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

    The adult has shiny white translucent wings. The forewings each have a brown leading edge, and two black spots in the middle. The moths have a wingspan of about 3 cms.

    The species has been found in Australia, specimens have been taken in

  • Western Australia,
  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.

    The species Palpita vitrealis Rossi 1794, (synonym : Palpita unionalis Hübner 1796) is only found to the west of Burma. It differs in the genitalia from Palpita austrounionalis although it is superficially similar.


    Further reading :

    Hiroshi Inoue,
    Revision of the genus Palpita Hübner (Crambidae, Pyraustinae) from the eastern Palaearctic, Oriental and Australian regions,
    Tinea,
    Volume 15, Part 2: Group B (1997), p. 143, fig. 187.


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    (updated 31 January 2013, 4 November 2020)