Martinique, Fonds St Denis, Deux Choux, 17-VI-1985

Utetheisa ornatrix (Linnaeus, 1758)

Arctiidae Arctiinae


Utetheisa stretchii (Butler)
Utetheisa pura (Butler)
Utetheisa daphoena Dyar
Utetheisa butleri Dyar

Biology and distribution

Larva on Crotalaria retusa (Fabaceae) in xerophilic zone and C. incana in mesophilic zone (Ryckewaert).

Guadeloupe and Martinique: common in xerophilic zone.
Marie-Galante, St-Bartholomew, Désirade.

Virgin Islands.
Haiti, Puerto Rico.

Thoughout tropical and subtropical America.


Pheromone and sexual behaviour

The Genus Utetheisa is a classical model in chemical ecology.

The sex pheromone produced by the female moths has been described (Conner et al., 1980, Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 7: 55-63; Jain et al., 1983, J. Org. Chem., 48: 2266-2270.). It consists of:

The percentages vary with populations.
Source: Pherolist, a database on sex pheromones of Lepidoptera and related attractants.

The female pheromone mediates the attraction at long range of sexual partners.
However, the male moths produce a courship pheromone, emitted by androconia on the abdomen (coremata). This pheromone evokes an acceptance posture on receptive females (Conner et al., 1981, Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 9: 227-235). The male pheromone consists of hydroxydanaidal, pyrrolizidine alkaloid synthesized by the insect from precursor alkaloids found in the larval host-plant (monocrotaline and usaramine).

Similar species

Utetheisa pulchella

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