Moths of the Amazon
Superfamily - NOCTUOIDAE
Family - NOCTUIDAE
Rio Alto Madre de Dios, 550m, Peru ©
The genus Xanthopastis contains only a
single species timias, which is
instantly recognisable from the black and orange markings. The
ground colour is slightly pinkish in freshly emerged adults but
quickly fades to white.
Xanthopastis timais is found
from Pennsylvania in the USA, south to Brazil, Peru and Argentina.
This is a lowland species found at altitudes between 0-800m.
The eggs are
yellowish and are laid in clusters of up to 200 on the underside of
leaves of Amaryllis,
Clivia ( Amaryllidaceae ); Crinum,
( Liliaceae ) and
Iris ( Iridaceae ).
are known as 'convicts' in North America. They are black, ringed
with white between the segments. The head, prolegs and anal segment
are orange. The larvae feed gregariously on the leaves, bulbs and
rhizomes of the foodplants, and are regarded as pests in the USA.
The pupa is black and is formed in loose soil.
I once found over 20 of these moths resting at dawn
on the lower trunks of a group of palm trees in Peru, perhaps
indicative of a spontaneous emergence triggered by local weather