Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A taste for fruit

A dark shape on the verandah ceiling ouside our kitchen turned out to be a large moth that must have been attracted by the light last night and had settled to await tonight for another flight. It was not in a great spot for a photo so capture in a plastic container enabled it to be repositioned on a table.
When it was being moved in the container I noticed bright colours on the hind wings but each time I tried to get the wings displayed in the open position the moth flew off but fortunately landed a short distance away.
 My only way to get the display was with it contained and trying to escape the container.
Not a great photo but it does show the hidden beauty of the orange and black markings.
After some research I identified it as one of the Fruit Piercing moths in the NOCTUIDAE family sub family Catocaline Eudocima fullonia. 
Widespread worldwide throughout tropical regions it is an orchard pest of many types of  fruit and in Queensland citrus and tropical fruits are widely affected. It is the adult moth that causes the problem as it pierces the fruit with a strong proboscis and sucks the juice. The hole allows disease to enter making the fruit unsaleable.
We are likely to be at the southern end of its range and this is the first one I have seen but neighbours have reported having problems. At present wedo not have enough numbers to cause us any significant problem in the orchard, although with global warming it could be in the future .

An interesting features are the pair of labial palps in front of the eyes and the shoulder tufts.


  1. Beautiful moth Ian - even if it does cause problems! Love the colours on the underwings - reminds me of our various Yellow Underwing species. Moths can be very difficult to photo at times due to their liveliness :)

  2. It was quite a surprise when I saw the colour and I was pleased to at least be able to show it in one photo.