Eudocima materna (Linnaeus, 1767)
(one synonym : Ophideres apta Walker, 1858)
Dot Underwing
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Eudocima materna
(Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland)

The Caterpillars of this species feed on plants in the Moonseed family ( (MENISPERMACEAE), for example :

  • Snake Vine ( Tinospora smilacina ), and
  • Roundleaf Vine ( Legnephora moorei ).

    Eudocima materna
    (Photo: courtesy of Linda Reynolds, Broome, Western Australia)

    The adult moth has fawn forewings with a variable pattern of pale and dark lines and patches. The hindwings are bright yellow to orange, with a dark spot in the middle and a broad dark border with white spots along the edge.

    Eudocima materna
    Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, from
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art

    The females have an additional white diagonal stripe across each forewing. The moth has a wingspan of about 6 cms.

    The species occurs all around the world, particularly :

  • Angola,
  • Brazil,
  • Ethiopia,
  • India,
  • Java,
  • Madagascar,
  • Mexico,
  • New Guinea,
  • New Zealand,
  • Nouvelle-CalÚdonie,
  • South Africa,

    as well as in Australia in:

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

    Eudocima materna
    Cuba 1979
    Eudocima materna
    Benin 1980

    The adult moth is an agricultural pest, attacking fruit. It has a sharp haustellum that it uses to penetrate the fruit in order to suck the juices. After the fruit has been pierced, fungi and other microorganisms can enter the fruit and cause it to rot. The moth is is known to attack many fruits, including:

  • Banana,
  • Citrus
  • Lychee,
  • Mango,
  • Pomegranate, and
  • Tomato.

    Control is being attempted using :

  • catching the moths by hand with a net,
  • UV light moth trap,
  • filling the area with smoke,
  • pheromone traps,
  • coating fruit with repellant oil,
  • protective nets,
  • poisonous baits,
  • playing bat-like sounds,
  • the larva-parasitoid wasp Euplectrus melanocephalus ( EULOPHIDAE),
  • the egg-parasitoid wasp Telenomus lucullus ( SCELIONINAE), and
  • the egg-parasitoid wasp Trichogramma chilonis ( TRICHOGRAMMATIDAE).

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pp. 65, 449.

    Carl Linnaeus,
    Insecta Lepidoptera,
    Systema Naturae,
    Edition 12 (1767), Volume 1, Part 2, p. 840, No. 117.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 8,
    Night Moths and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA(B)
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2017, pp. 18-19.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 138.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 30 July 2013, 22 May 2017, 27 August 2020, 12 April 2021)