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Utetheisa sumatrana - NZ.pgn.png
Utetheisa sumatrana imago
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
(unranked): Macrolepidoptera
Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Arctiidae
Subfamily: Arctiinae
Genus: Utetheisa
Hübner, [1819]
Type species
Phalaena ornatrix
Linnaeus, 1758

Atasca Swinhoe, 1892
Deiopeia Curtis, 1827
Deiopeia Stephens, 1829 (non Curtis, 1827: preoccupied)
Exitelica Turner, 1921
Pitasila Moore, 1877
Raanya de Vos, 2007
Utethesia (lapsus)
Uthetheisa (lapsus)

Utetheisa is a genus of arctiid moths in subfamily Arctiinae.

The members of its subgenera Pitasila, Atasca, and Raanya were formerly included in Nyctemera. Utetheisa is placed in the tribe Callimorphini or in the Nyctemerini; some treatments merge the two tribes.[2][3]

Caterpillars of many Utetheisa species feed on Crotalaria (rattlebox), and hence the genus as a whole is often called rattlebox moths. The adults usually have bright aposematic coloration[4] and contain toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are used as a chemical defense and are also incorporated into the sex pheromones of the males.[5]

Utetheisa is monophyletic.[5]

Selected species[edit]

Species of Utetheisa include:[6]

Subgenus Utetheisa

Heliotrope Moth (Utetheisa pulchelloides)

Subgenus Pitasila


  1. ^ Genus Utetheisa Hübner, 1819. Australian Biological Resources Study. 2011.
  2. ^ de Vos, R. (2007). The Utetheisa species of the subgenera Pitasila, Atasca and Raanya subgen. n. (Insecta, Lepidoptera: Arctiidae). Aldrovandia. Bollettino del Museo Civico di Zoologia di Roma 3, 31-120.
  3. ^ de Vos, R. and V. V. Dubatolov. (2010). Nyctemerini. In: Dubatolov, V. V. Tiger-moths of Eurasia (Lepidoptera, Arctiidae). Neue Entomologische Nachrichten 65, 11-18.
  4. ^ Garrett, S. E., et al. (2008). Alkaloidal protection of Utetheisa galapagensis (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae) against an invertebrate and a vertebrate predator in the Galápagos Islands. Galápagos Research 65 2.
  5. ^ a b DaCosta, M. A. (2010). Phylogeny of Utetheisa s. str.(Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Arctinae) with comments on the evolution of colour, hind wing scales and origin of New World species. Invertebrate Systematics 24(2), 113-30.
  6. ^ Savela, M. Utetheisa Lepidoptera and Some Other Life Forms. 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • Jordan, K., 1939: On the constancy and variability of the differences between the Old World species of Utetheisa (Lepid.; Arctiidae). Novitates Zoologicae 41: 251-291, London and Aylesbury.
  • Perrott, D. C., [1967] 1966: Records of the arctiid genus Utetheisa in New Zealand. N.Z.Entomol. 3 (5): 3-4.
  • Robinson, G. S., 1971: The genus Utetheisa Hübner in Fiji with description of a new species (Lepidoptera, Arctiidae). Entomol. Rec. & J. Variation 83 (5): 123-130.
  • Robinson, G. & H. S. Robinson, 1974: Notes on the genus Utetheisa Hübner (Lepidoptera, Arctiidae) in the Western Pacific with larval descriptions. Entomol. Rec. & J. Variation 86 (5-6): 160-163.
  • Robinson, G. & H. S. Robinson., 1979-1980: Further observations on the species of Utetheisa Hübner (Lep.: Arctiidae) in the Western and Central Pacific, with the description of a new species from Niue Island. Entom. Rec. & J. Variation 91 (10): 270-273; 91 (11-12): 319-322, pl. 9; 92 (1): 13-16.
  • Roepke, W., 1941: On the Javanese species of the genus Utetheisa Hb. (Lep. Het., fam. Arctiidae). Tijdschrift voor Entomologie 84: 1-9, 4 figs., Amsterdam.