Brown Pasture Looper

Ciampa arietaria

Family: Geometridae

Order: Lepidoptera


Colour - Grey.
Body - Large size. Stout. Long hair scales.
Wings - 2 Pairs. Membranous. Hairy. Slender. Patterned. Front wings are darker coloured than rear wings which may be almost white. Wing-span 40 mm
Mouthparts -
Antennae - 3 segments.
Legs - Broad overlapping scales. Feet (Tarsi) have 5 segments.
Head - Broad overlapping scales. Large rounded compound eyes.
Thorax - Broad overlapping scales. 3 segments. Front segment much smaller. Hairy
Abdomen - Broad overlapping scales. 7-11 segments. Spiracles on segments 1-7. Hairy
Egg -
Habits - Can't fly when cold. Fly from March to June.
Caterpillar -
Colour - Grey or brown with black, brown and cream stripes running down the length of the body.
Body - Cylindrical. Up to 40 mm long. Often around 20 mm.
Mouthparts - Chewing.
Antennae - Short. 3 segments.
Legs - 3 pairs of thoracic legs (with 5 segments) near the head and prolegs near the tail.
Head - Hard. Black or brown.
Thorax - 10-11 segments. Spiracles on segments 1 to 8. Prolegs on segments 3-6 and 10.
Abdomen -
Habits - Herbivorous. Move with a looping action where the forelegs are extended to take grip then the back is arched to bring the hind legs up to just behind the fore legs. When full size the caterpillars do not 'loop'.
Pupa - In ground over spring and summer.


Life Cycle:

Moths fly from March to June and lay eggs on leaves. Eggs hatch and young caterpillars feed on leaves and grow to full size in 2 months. Pupa is formed and remains dormant over spring and summer to emerge as moths the following year.


Often occurs where capeweed was thick or is present.

Origin and History:



Caterpillar is a major pest of canola, lupins and broadleaf pasture. Often feed on Erodium and capeweed. Crops are often only affected along the edges adjacent to pasture.

Management and Control:

Insecticides can be applied if caterpillars are present.
Eggs are parasitised and shield bugs (wood bugs) attack young larvae. Autumn weather and rains also determine the severity of infestations.

Related Species:

Similar Species:


CSIRO. The Insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press. (1991) p884, 889.

WADA. Insects and Allied Pests of Extensive Farming. Department of Agriculture - Western Australia Bulletin No. 4185. p54.


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