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Pasture day moth

Research agronomist, Simon Craig (BCG), has reported high numbers of pasture day moth caterpillars in a wheat crop near Birchip, in the Mallee district of Victoria. The crop was showing clear signs of caterpillar feeding damage and is likely to be sprayed to prevent further loss. Pasture day moth larvae have also been identified for agronomist, Glenn Shepherd (IMAG Consulting), who found high numbers moving across a roadside verge north east of Dubbo, in the Central West Slopes and Plains district of New South Wales. No caterpillars were found in the adjacent crops however Glenn says these will be inspected closely in the coming weeks to see whether any caterpillars move in.

Pasture day moth (Apina calisto) caterpillars are quite distinctive when fully grown. They have a dark brown to black coloured body with reddish-orange markings, and grow to about 50-60 mm long. They also have two prominent yellow spots near their rear end, which become more apparent as they mature in size. Pasture day moth caterpillars have a preference to feed on broadleaved weeds, however they may transfer onto crops and grasses in paddocks where weeds are dead or dying form a previous herbicide application.

Click here for images of pasture day moth caterpillars and refer to PestFacts Issue No. 7 for more information.

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