Owl Moths
Bird-dropping Moth 
Green Blotched Moth
Cluster Caterpillar
Lawn Armyworm
Lily Caterpillar
Affinis Dayflying Moth
Crow Moth  
Joseph's Coat Moth  


Joseph's Coat Moth - Agarista agricola

Family Noctuidae, sub family Agaristinae

This page contains information about Joseph's Coat Moths that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia. They are also known as Painted Vine Moths. 

Male, wing span 50mm, guarding its territory, there has the larvae's food-plants where the female lays eggs on. 
The moths are day flying, with black, red, pale blue and yellow colours. Male and female look similar except a bit larger and with larger white area on thorax. 

The Male

On Feb 2009, we went to the Forest Reserve near Anstead the first time. We found quite a number of Joseph's Coat Moths flying around. The moth flies with erratic flight path as most other moths do, except this moth flight during the day. 
PC9_0326.jpg (155969 bytes) PC9_0606.jpg (133388 bytes) PC9_0605.jpg (76145 bytes)
Male, wing span 50mm 
The moth also rests on leaf under sun shine, with wings wide flat opens  
PC9_0296.jpg (207335 bytes) PC9_0302.jpg (97785 bytes)
The moth rests from time to time. When rests they rest on the shaped side of the large tree trunk, with head facing downwards. It seems that they fly within their territory. 
PC9_0321.jpg (145198 bytes) PC9_0325.jpg (229781 bytes) PC9_0615.jpg (111933 bytes)
Do you see the scary predator's face pattern on the moth's wings? This is what we call "Birds draw the cat's face on moth's wings". details please check our web page on the discussions
PC9_0306.jpg (226316 bytes) PC9_0603.jpg (133814 bytes)

The Female

DSC_3153.jpg (198815 bytes) DSC_3158.jpg (201233 bytes) DSC_3156.jpg (190722 bytes)
Female, wing span 70mm 
On Jan 2010 in Karawatha Forest Echidna Trail, we saw a pair of Joseph's Coat Moths flying around the host plants (vine unknown sp.). When we came closer, the male flied away but the female still kept what it was doing and ignored our approaching.
DSC_3166.jpg (189882 bytes) DSC_3164.jpg (195549 bytes) DSC_3162.jpg (186645 bytes)
Male and female Joseph's Coat Moths look similar except the female has the larger white area on its thorax.
DSC_3160.jpg (164562 bytes) DSC_3159.jpg (166926 bytes)
The female Joseph's Coat Moth was flying around the host plants, landed on stem of those plants regularly. The female then dip its abdomen tip onto the stem look like laying eggs. However we did not see any eggs. The female just touching its abdomen tip with the plant. We believed the moth was making the territory so that the other females will not lay eggs on this plants. This explained why female moths and butterflies do not lay eggs on plants that have been lay-egged by other females. We observed this female territory marking behaviour among moths and butterflies, include the Imperial Blue Butterflies.

Territory near Host Plants

 DSC_6317.jpg (124858 bytes) DSC_6315.jpg (151446 bytes) DSC_6313.jpg (139373 bytes)
On Jan 2012 on Daisy Hills, we saw two male Joseph's Coat Moth fighting for their territory near the host plant. There were females flying pass by to lay eggs on the plants.
DSC_6311.jpg (138441 bytes) DSC_6310.jpg (148764 bytes) DSC_6309.jpg (233306 bytes)

The Caterpillars

PC9_0620.jpg (130173 bytes) PC9_0623.jpg (99648 bytes) PC9_0630.jpg (101906 bytes)
Caterpillar length 40mm
Caterpillars are brilliantly banded with white, black and orange colours. Each segment has row of few but thick black hairs. 
P1010874.jpg (92912 bytes) PC9_0643.jpg (128992 bytes)
Small and large Caterpillars were feeding on food plant during the day. They did not care about our interrupt.  

The Food Plant

Joseph's Coat Moth caterpillars feed on various vines from the VITACEAE family
Slender Grape
wpe1.jpg (53229 bytes) DSCN8091.jpg (190956 bytes) DSCN8087.jpg (230301 bytes)
Caterpillar on Slender Grape, Cayratia clematidea 
DSCN8090.jpg (193475 bytes) DSCN8089.jpg (196272 bytes) DSCN8088.jpg (238456 bytes)
We found quite a number of those caterpillars feeding on grape vine in Daisy Hill during late summer 2005. The caterpillars have alternate black and white bands with some orange bands. They have sparse black thick hairs. 
Australian Native Grape
P1010871.jpg (154817 bytes) PC9_0641.jpg (90413 bytes) PC9_0639.jpg (95042 bytes)
? Cissus opaca 
The Australian Native Grape is a weak climber found near the forest floor.
The caterpillars are known to feed on cultivated grape vines Vitis vinifera as well.
For more general information about this moth, please check this family Noctuidae page and this subfamily AGARISTINAE page. 

1. Moths of Australia - Bernard D'Abrera, Lansdowne Press, Melbourne, 1974, p78.
2. Agarista agricola (Donovan, 1805) - Don Herbison-Evans & Ian F.B. Common & Stella Crossley, Australian Caterpillars, 2008.
3. Moths of Australia - Ian F.B.Common, Melbourne University Press, 1990, p464, plate 22.24, 32.12.
4. Create More Butterflies -  by Frank Jordan and Helen Schwencke, Earthling Enterprises, 2005, p78 and back cover.
5. Cissus opaca F.Muell - PlantNET, NEW SOUTH WALES FLORA ONLINE.
6. Wild Plants of Greater Brisbane -  Queensland Museum, 2003, p113. 

Back to Top

Up ] Affinis Dayflying Moth ] Crow Moth ] [ Joseph's Coat Moth ]


See us in Home page. Download large pictures in Wallpaper web page. Give us comments in Guest Book, or send email. A great way to support us is to buy the Brisbane Insects and Spiders CD.  
Last updated: January 31, 2012.