Pasture Day Moth

Apina callisto

Family: Noctuidae

Order: Lepidoptera

Synonym Amazelo callisto


Adult -
Colour - Variable, brightly coloured, browns, yellows, reds, greens, oranges, often with blotches. Black and orange rings are around the body.
Body - Medium size. Long hair scales.
Wings - 2 Pairs. Membranous. Hairy. Fore wings with orange streaks cut by cream blotches on a dark background. Rear wings less patterned with a cream band and spots on a dark background.
Broad, Wing-span up to 80 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.
Caterpillar -
Colour - Dark brown to black with yellow stripes running the length of its back. It has 2 cream spots at its rear end.
Body - Up to 60 mm long, 5-8 mm wide. Cylindrical.
Body - Stout mm long, mm wide.
Mouthparts - Chewing.
Antennae - Short. 3 segments.
Legs - 5 segments. Single claw on end.
Head - Hard.
Thorax - 10-11 segments. Spiracles on segments 1 to 8. Prolegs on segments 3, 6 and 10.
Abdomen -
Habits - Herbivorous.
Pupa - In soil in vertical tunnel.


Life Cycle:

The moth flies during the day in autumn. Eggs are laid on pasture and hatch at the break of the winter season. Caterpillar eats the leaves and stems of broadleaf species such as capeweed and Erodium and is seen during the day. They produce a vertical tunnel in the soil for the pupa in spring. There is 1 generation per year.


Origin and History:


Native to Australia


Caterpillars of this family attack broadleaf weeds such as capeweed and Erodium in pasture.
2-4 larvae per square metre was worth spraying in canola. A border spray is often all that is required.

Management and Control:

Control is usually not necessary. They may be beneficial in keeping the level of broad leaf weeds down in pastures.

Related Species:

Bogong moth, Cluster caterpillar, Common Armyworm, Corn Earworm, Cutworms, Helicoverpa or Heliothis, Inland Armyworm, Lawn Armyworm, Loopers, Native budworm, Southern Armyworm.

Similar Species:


CSIRO. The Insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press. (1991) p914.

WADA. Insects and Allied Pests of Extensive Farming. Department of Agriculture - Western Australia Bulletin No. 4185. p53.


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