Crop Insects



Pasture day moth

Apina callisto



Pasture day moth larvae (Apina callisto)
? Agriculture Western Australia

The caterpillar is a visually striking insect especially when fully grown to 60 mm long. It is dark brown to black with two yellow spots near the posterior end. Large numbers of these caterpillars may be seen on the surface of pasture where they remain and feed until fully grown.


Pasture day moth
? Agriculture Western Australia

Life cycle
The large adult moth is brown with yellow markings on the wings and orange rings around the body. It flies in autumn and by day as the name implies. Eggs are laid in pasture and hatch at about the onset of rains. When the larvae are fully grown they may be seen burrowing in the soil before becoming pupae. This insect passes through only one generation per year.
It is rare for larvae of pasture day moths to damage anything except the broadleaved weeds in pasture, such as erodium and capeweed. Only in years of serious feed shortages could they be considered a real pest.
Little is known of natural controls although the autumn rainfall must be critical for survival.