Tyta luctuosa Denis & Schiffermüller
The caterpillars of this moth are common defoliators of field bindweed in Europe. It has 2 or 3 generations per year in southern Europe. The average time from egg to adult is 45.6 days in laboratory conditions. There are five larval instars. Adult females lay an average of over 400 eggs (Rosenthal et al. 1988).
The work by Rosenthal (1978, 1983) and Rosenthal et al. (1988) on host plant testing and basic biology include the more important work on this insect. The work by Ciomperlik et al. (1992) is the only work in Texas.
Attempts at establishing this insect in Texas have been made in Texas (Ciomperlik et al. 1992). However, the red imported fire ant interfered with the establishment and reproduction of this moth.
It was necessary to control red imported fire ant to allow this moth to develop in the field (Ciomperlik et al. 1988). This will limit the widespread use of this moth for biological control in much of Texas.
The primary plant affected is field bindweed. However, in the laboratory, larvae were able to feed on Calystegia spp. which are native to North American. After this was evaluated, Tyta luctuosa was cleared for release in the U. S. but not in the Pacific coastal states because of this concern (Rosenthal 1983).
Boldt, P.E. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grasslands Research Laboratory, 808 Blackland Road, Temple, Texas 76502, United States of America.
Rosenthal, S.S., Clement, S.L., Hostettler, N., Mimmocchi, T. 1988. Biology of Tyta luctuosa and its potential value as a biological control agent for the weed Convolvulus arvensis. Entomophaga 33, 185-192.
Ciomperlik, M. A., J. M. Chandler, and C. J. DeLoach. 1992. Predation by the red imported fire ant on Tyta luctuosa, released for control of field bindweed. Southwestern Entomologist 17(3): 267-269.
Rosenthal, S. S. 1978. Host specificity of Tyta luctuosa [Lep: Noctuidae], an insect associated with Convolvulus arvensis. Entomophaga 23(4): 367-370.
Rosenthal, S. S. 1983. Importance of field bindweed in California. Calif. Agric. 37:16-17.
Rosenthal, S. S., S. L. Clement, N. Hostettler and T. Mimmocchi. 1988. Biology of Tyta luctuosa [Lep: Noctuidae] and its potential value as a biological control agent for the weed Convolvulus arvensis. Entomophaga 33(2): 185-192.