Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Heliotrope, the food not the colour

A warm still night brought out quite a few moths and a small one (about 3cm wingspan. that I caught was quite a standout with bright spots on a white background.
The identification check took a bit of time matching as there are two very similar moths but the pattern of the dots fitted the Heliotrope Moth Utetheisa pulchelloides one of the ARCTIIDAE family. They are widespread through the Indo-Australasian region and the caterpilars feed on plants of the Borage Family. The introduced European Heliotrope is a widespread weed throughout Australia and is poisonous to cattle and sheep so this moth could be a biological control agent then again it might also decimate positive plants on the borage family. Interesting to note that the name Heliotrope was given to plants that turn towards the sun and some of those had blue flowers that gave rise to a Heliotrope Blue colour.


  1. What a beautiful moth - such superb colours :) Interesting to read about the the pro's and cons of it being used as a biological control agent.

  2. Sorry I am late in thanking you for your comment, have not been on the site for sometime.