It is possible that the other host records are due to the habit of full-grown larvae to wander from the host plant (and often onto other species) prior to pupation. Eisner T, Meinwald J. Upon hatching, the young larvae feed on the foliage. Unlike most moths Bella are active during the day. Records that list just a plant genus as host (eg Rosa), records that cite one unidentified species (Rosa sp.) This brightly colored moth gets toxic alkaloids from its host plant, and the alkaloid content tends to be higher in showy rattlebox than in the native species. They are also rejected by at least some vertebrates (e.g., the blue jay, Cyanocitta cristata [Linnaeus], and the Florida scrub jay, Aphelocoma coerulescens [Bosc]), (Eisner & Meinwald 1995), but not by the American toad, Bufo americanus Holbrook, (Now Anaxyrus americanus (Holbrook). Eisner T, Eisner M, Siegler M. 2005. The adult ornate bella moth is highly variable in coloration which has resulted in confusion regarding its taxonomy and the assignment of many names to the numerous color "forms". The male even shares some of the toxic chemical with the female during mating, which in turn makes her eggs taste disgusting to other insects. It should also contain mulch, not rock. After feeding briefly on foliage, the larvae move to the unripe pods which they bore into to feed on the seeds Upon reaching maturity, larvae migrate from the host plant to pupate in sheltered situations under loose bark on nearby trees, in thick vegetation, or in debris. The name Crotalaria originates from the Greek root "crotal" which means "a rattle". Connor WE, Roach B, Benedict E, Meinwald J, Eisner T. 1990. This plant is a host of the ornate bella moth, Utetheisa ornatrix (Linnaeus). Chapter 10. It is not clear if people who introduced rattlebox plants were aware they are poisonous to livestock and can become nuisance invasive exotics, sometimes completely overrunning the ecosystem. The pupae are encased in a brown and black sac covered in a light coat of silk. Larvae: The larvae are orange-brown with broad irregular black bands on each segment (Figure 3). “The moth has always fed on native species of Crotalaria,” said Sourakov, showing a drawer with hundreds of bella moth specimens that he reared in the lab. “They can’t tell the difference between the native and the invasive species. Eggs of the ornate bella moth, Utetheisa ornatrix (Linnaeus). Sourakov continued searching for bella moths feeding on Crotalaria in the Gainesville area. 2006). Bezzerides and Eisner (2002) have demonstrated that individual eggs from multiply-mated females receive alkaloids from more than one male. There are distinct white spots on the anterior and posterior margins of the black bands. Host plants are believed to be limited to members of the Crotalaria (Rattlebox) family of plants, the larva stores the alkaloids it receives from these plants making it toxic to potential predators, a trait that carries over to the adult moth. 1980, Jain et al. Originating from South America (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uraguay), this an incredibly invasive weed that causes problems both in home gardens and in Native Bush. 538-542. Semiochemicals of. The woolybears, tiger moth larvae. Adult ornate bella moths live approximately three weeks and females mate on average four to five times and as many as 13 times — each time receiving additional nutrients and alkaloids as nuptial gifts via the spermatophores. Lanceleaf rattlebox, Crotalaria lanceolata E. Mey, in fruit. This plant is a host of the ornate bella moth, Utetheisa ornatrix (Linnaeus). 2nd edition. Eisner T, Eisner M. 1991. In his lab experiments with these plant species, which Sourakov propagated from seeds with the help of volunteers, the moth’s biology was shown to vary depending on the species of rattlebox plant used as food. Fanning the female with the coremata stimulates her to raise her wings exposing her abdomen. ), with flowers and fruit. The ornate bella moth is found from Connecticut westward to southeastern Nebraska, and southward to New Mexico, southeastern Arizona and Florida (Covell 2005, Powell & Opler 2009, North American Moth Photographers Group Undated). The seeds contain alkaloids that are poisonous to some insects and other animals. González A, Rossini C, Eisner M, Eisner T. 1999. Males become active approximately 1 to 1½ hours after sunset and are attracted to females by a pulsed (Connor et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA. (In Latin). Chapter 62. pp. Pictured on the flower of an exotic Crotalaria retusa, a tiny ornate bella moth, Utetheisa ornatrix, is changing its ecology as it adjusts to feeding on the seeds of this invasive plant. (Report) by "Florida Entomologist"; Biological sciences Beans Diseases and pests Physiological aspects Insect-plant relationships Research Legumes Mimosaceae Moths Health aspects obovata (G. Don) Pohill (formerly Crotalaria mucronata Desv. Apportionment of nuptial alkaloidal gifts by a multiply-mated female moth (, Bezzerides A, Yong T-H, Bezzerides J, Husseini J, Ladau J, Eisner M, Eisner T. 2004. Eggs have been demonstrated to be repellent to the spotted ladybird beetle Coleomegilla maculata DeGeer (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) (Dussourd et al. Dussourd DE, Harvis CA, Meinwald J, Eisner T. 1991. During his experiments, spiders that caught bella moths in their webs and got a taste of the unpleasant alkaloids opted to cut the moths free, rather than finish the meal. and records that cite several unspecified species (Rosa spp.) Join me and my guest Dr. Andrei Sourakov as we discuss how bella moths have shifted their diets to include invasive rattlebox plants and how this host shift is keeping their invasion at bay. Clusters of 2-4 bell-shaped creamy coloured flowers (20-25 mm diameter), occasionally with pink streaks, appear from December to May, followed by distinctive thick, leathery, pear-shaped choko-li… 1981, Dussourd et al. Heritability of body mass, a sexually selected trait in an arctiid moth (, Iyengar VK, Rossini C, Eisner T. 2001. The pheromone also contains diene and tetraene forms (two and four double bonds, respectively) (Connor et al. Creating a list of host plants is the first step towards planning a butterfly garden. Covell CV. Deer browse the stems and leaves. Showy rattlebox, Crotalaria spectabilis Roth., a host of the ornate bella moth, Utetheisa ornatrix (Linnaeus). Adult ornate bella moths are rejected by the wolf spider Lycosa ceratiola Gertsch (Eisner & Eisner 1991, González et al. The bella moth is one of the few insects that have evolved to use the Rattlebox as host due to the plants extreme toxicity (the plant is laced with pyrrolizidine alkaloids). Therefore, it is more commonly seen than nocturnal species of moths by the public. Araujia hortorum. For example Sun Hemp, Crotalaria juncea, which has been used in India as a crop since 600 B.C., is recommended by UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as “a summer cover crop for Florida growers because it returns nitrogen to the soil, suppresses weeds and nematodes, improves soil tilth and water-holding capacity, and reduces erosion in fields otherwise left without plant cover.”. The additional nutrients allow the female to lay a larger number of eggs than would otherwise be possible. 10th Ed. Contact … It is also found through Mexico and southward through Central (Powell & Opler 2009) and South America all the way to Argentina (Pease 1968) and throughout most of the Antilles (North American Moth Photographers Group Undated). The pods resemble pea pods and rattle when the plant stem is moved. (2006) reported that Utetheisa ornatrix larvae were repulsed from the racemes of Crotalaria pallida by ants attracted to the extrafloral nectaries but that predation on the larvae was rare. Unfortunately, species of Crotalaria are toxic to livestock due to the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, and are potentially fatal. Much of what we know about the biology of the ornate bella moth is due to the fascinating work of Thomas Eisner and … But the bella moth relies on these particular alkaloids to produce chemical defenses and pheromones. It is the same root word as used in the genus name for rattle snakes, Crotalus. Photograph by Don Hall, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida. Lipsiae, sumptibus Guilielmi Engelmann, 1894. Rattlebox moth is our favorite, because it reflects the relationship between the bug and the group, or genus of plants called Crotalaria, on which it depends for survival. Passion flower, Passiflora caerulea, is an exotic-looking climber, bearing evergreen, deeply lobed, dark green glossy leaves, from which large white flowers with central filaments of purple, blue and white appear from July to September, followed by egg-shaped, orange-yellow fruit. Please contact us for permission to use. A year later, he noticed the seasonal plant had dwindled more than 90 percent. Also, the following six species of parasitoids have been reared from Utetheisa ornatrix pupae by Rossini et al. 2016. The caterpillars of Utetheisa ornatrix, the ornate bella moth, feed on host plants in the genus Crotalaria (Fabales: Fabaceae), which, in Florida, encompasses 4 native and 10 introduced species. A flower spike of lanceleaf rattlebox, Crotalaria lanceolata E. Mey, with carpenter ants feeding at extrafloral nectaries. Photograph by Don Hall, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida. A Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America. Also known as Moth Plant, Kapok Vine, Araujia Sericifera. Alkaloid content of parasitoids reared from pupae of an alkaloid-sequestering arctiid moth (. The female herself also gains additional protection from predators due to the additional alkaloids from the male spermatophores (González et al. With his trademark spectacles and safari hat, David Fairchild, known as the Indiana Jones of botany, traveled the world during the early 1900s in search of plants and collected thousands of exotics and new varieties, like pistachios, mangos, dates, cotton and wheat, and introduced them to the United States. Wunderlin RP, Hansen BF, Franck AR, Essig FB. All photographs are copywrited property. Free Online Library: Exotic Crotalaria species (Fabales: Fabaceae) as host plants of the ornate Bella moth, Utetheisa ornatrix (Lepidoptera: Erebidae), in Florida: laboratory biology. Eggs: The eggs are white to yellow and spherical (Figure 2). The Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states. Though such occurrences are rare, the health concerns prompted testing of some products for Pyrrolizidine alkaloids – the harmful components of Crotalaria. The caterpillars of Utetheisa ornatrix, the ornate bella moth, feed on host plants in the genus Crotalaria (Fabales: Fabaceae), which, in Florida, encompasses 4 native and 10 introduced species. Upon reaching maturity, larvae migrate from the host plant to pupate in sheltered situations under loose bark on nearby trees, in thick vegetation, or in debris. 92: 50-55. and Paecilomyces lilacinus Thom (Now: Purpureocillium lilacinum [Thom] {Luangsa-Ard et al. These plants produce pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are toxic to many species, but not the ornate bella moth. 49, No. Round, fleshy, orange to red berries appear in late summer. Florida has ten exotic species, including Crotalaira spectabilis, and four native species of the poisonous rattlebox, all of which the bella moth successfully keeps at bay. It is possible that the other host records are due to the habit of full-grown larvae to wander from the host plant (and often onto other species) prior to pupation. 1995. I was surprised to find this moth in my yard because I don’t have the host plant for it, which is any number of species of wildflower in the genus Crotalaria, called … It is also known as the spicebush silkmoth, which refers to is one of the promethea silkmoth's common host plants, spicebush (Lindera benzoin). Precopulatory sexual interaction in an arctiid moth (, Connor WE, Eisner T, Vander Meer RK, Guerrero A, Ghiringelli D, Meinwald J. Many other species of Crotalaria were introduced into the southeastern U.S. 55-65 years ago for soil improvement and forage. 1983). Join me and my guest Dr. Andrei Sourakov as we discuss how bella moths have shifted their diets to include invasive rattlebox plants and how this host shift is keeping their invasion at bay. which are both native to Africa and Crotalaria spectabilis Roth which is native to Asia. A flower spike of lanceleaf rattlebox, Crotalaria lanceolata E. Mey, with carpenter ants feeding at extrafloral nectaries. However, the native and exotic species have very different habitat preferences, and seasonal patterns of growth.”. Among them is Crotalaria spectabilis, showy rattlebox, which particularly stands out with its 6- to 8 feet-tall plants and beautiful yellow flowers. 348-384. Figure 10. Host Plants for Butterflies and Moths Those who garden with native plants are aware that natives attract a remarkable number of pollinators. 1988), the green lacewing Ceraeochrysa cubana (Hagan) (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) (Eisner et al. You are what you eat: native versus exotic Crotalaria species (Fabaceae) as host plants of the ornate bella moth, Storey GK, Aneshanslely DJ, Eisner T. 1991. The Pherobase: Database of Insect Pheromones and Semiochemicals. The University of North Carolina Press. A flower spike of lanceleaf rattlebox, Crotalaria lanceolata E. Mey, with carpenter ants feeding at extrafloral nectaries. University of California Press. In the U.S., it is more common in the southern part of its range. Forbes (1960) included both forms under the species Utetheisa ornatrix. (2015). 369 pp. System Naturae. Figure 9. Martinsville, Virginia. The concentration of HD in the coremata is correlated with the amount of alkaloid carried by the males. Immature seeds contain approximately five times the amount of pyrrolizidine alkaloid as the foliage (Ferro et al. Today, the plant would control many Florida habitats if it weren’t for the tiny pinkish-red ornate bella moth keeping it at bay. Sourakov, with the help of UF undergraduate students, is now continuing to explore the ongoing coevolution of plants and moths. Predators: All life stages of ornate bella moths are protected from a wide range of predators by the alkaloids sequestered from their host plants. 1987. North American Moth Photographers Group (, Pease R. 1968. Figure 3. McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity. “The moth has always fed on native species of Crotalaria,” said Sourakov, showing a drawer with hundreds of bella moth specimens that he reared in the lab. Crotalaria plants (particularly the immature seeds) are laced with pyrrolizidine alkaloids. The bella moth is one of the few insects that have evolved to use the Rattlebox as host due to the plants extreme toxicity (the plant is laced with pyrrolizidine alkaloids). Parentally provided alkaloid does not protect eggs of. Unpalatability of the pyrrolizidine alkaloid containing moth. plant is a host of the ornate bella moth, Utetheisa ornatrix (Linnaeus). 1981. Sourakov A. Credits: Don Hall, UF/IFAS Figure 9. Natural Resources Conservation Service. Eisner T. 2003. Hare JF, Eisner T. 1993. Chemical defense against predation in an insect egg. Although a variety of plants in the family Fabaceae are listed in the literature as hosts for the ornate bella moth (Covell 2005, Robinson et al. Not self-fruitful. Figure 8. Figure 7. Pupa of the ornate bella moth, Utetheisa ornatrix (Linnaeus). 1960. You are what you eat: native versus exotic Crotalaria species (Fabaceae) as host plants of the Ornate Bella Moth, Utetheisa ornatrix (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Arctiinae) Journal of Natural History: Vol. Guimarães et al. 2003. Special Publication Number 12. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 97: 1634-1639. It’s a vigorous slender evergreen vine that … Leaves are arrowhead-like in shape (3-12 x 2-6 cm) and alternate on the stems. Sex attractant of an arctiid moth (. 930348.00 – 8105 – Utetheisa ornatrix – Ornate Bella Moth – (Linnaeus, 1758) Photographs are the copyrighted property of each photographer listed. Virginia Museum of Natural History. http://www.pherobase.com/database/species/species-Utetheisa-ornatrix.php, http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/species.php?hodges=8105, HOSTS - a Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants, Bezzerides A, Eisner T. 2002. Photograph by Don Hall, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida. Chemical basis of egg cannibalism in a caterpillar (, Bogner F, Eisner T. 1992. Today, some Crotalaria plants are still used as cover crops in the United States (mostly in the South), and around the world. Gainesville, Florida. Learn more about the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity at the Florida Museum. Ornate Bella Moth . Biparental defensive endowment of eggs with acquired plant alkaloid in the moth, Egan AL, Hook KA, Reeve HK, Iyengar VK. The bella moth measures less than 2 inches, but it is vibrantly colored and active during the day and night. Plant-derived pyrrolizidine alkaloid protects eggs of a moth (, Bogner F, Eisner T. 1991. The moths sequester these poisonous chemicals and thus become poisonous to predators. Sexually transmitted chemical defense in a moth (=, Guimarães PR, Raimundo RL, Bottcher C, Silva RR, Trigo JR. 2006. Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Andrei Sourakov. Vol. According to Fairchild, this particular plant was introduced from India around 1914. (2000) who reported an overall parasitism rate of 20% and suggested that pupal parasitism may be one of the chief causes of mortality in Utetheisa ornatrix: In laboratory studies (Storey et al. The paler form originally designated "ornatrix" is restricted to southern Florida and southern Texas. These are Crotalaria lanceolata E. Mey. The ornate bella moth has two generations northward but may breed continuously in the southernmost parts of its range (Covell 2005). 2005. While not all moth are pollinators, they do have unique realtionships with native plants, and provide an important food source for birds as well. Final instar larva. “They affect their livers and their alkaloids even have been found to have DNA damaging effects.”. Luangsa-Ard J, Houbraken J, van Doorn T, Hong SB, Borman AM, Hywel-Jones NL, Samson RA. The caterpillars of Utetheisa ornatrix, the ornate bella moth, feed on host plants in the genus Crotalaria (Fabales: Fabaceae), which, in Florida, encompasses 4 native and 10 introduced species. Robinson GS, Ackery PR, Kitching IJ, Beccaloni GW, Hernández LM. Vol. Sourakov stumbled upon one of Florida’s 10 exotic species of rattlebox (there are four native species) in 2011 growing near the edge of a wooded area in northwest Gainesville. Figure 4. (For chemical structures of Utetheisa ornatrix pheromones, see El-Sayed (2014). Regnum Animale. They lay clusters of eggs on rattlepod plants (Crotalaria ... the leaves of host plants. The bella moth was eating the plant's poisonous seeds, which help it produce chemical defenses that make the moths and their eggs unpalatable to would-be predators. His March 2015 study appearing in the Journal of Natural History reveals that the moth is changing its ecology, co-evolving as it adjusts to feeding on the seeds of several invasive exotic plant species. The life cycle of the ornate Bella Moth is short.. only three weeks. Precopulatory assessment of male quality in an arctiid moth (, Jain SC, Doussard DE, Conner WE, Eisner T, Guerrero A, Meinwald J. Habit and habitat - Adult Bella moths concentrate around Rattlebox plants… This is a fascinating discussion about the ecological consequences of invasive plant introductions. Linnaeus (Linnei 1758) originally described two species in the genus Phalaena — ornatrix (more whitish or pale specimens) and bella (brightly colored specimens), and Hübner later moved them to the genus Utetheisa. Flip Through . 2000),and the cavity-nesting ant, Leptothorax longispinosus Roger (Now Temnothorax longispinosus [Roger]) (Hare & Eisner 1993). This leads to another common name for the Bella moth: rattlebox moth. Powell JA, Opler PA. 2009. He’s observed the introduction of several rattlebox species, all with different morphology, ecology and chemistry, has resulted in a substantial expansion of the bella moth’s habitat and activity patterns. A hit was the harmless hand capture and release of on of the beautiful gold, white, black, and vivid pink Bella Moth (often called Rattlebox Moth for its host plant). 2010, Tietz 1972), species in the genus Crotalaria (e.g., Figures 7 to 10) are without a doubt the major if not the only true hosts. The caterpillars of Utetheisa ornatrix, the ornate bella moth, feed on host plants in the genus Crotalaria (Fabales: Fabaceae), which, in Florida, encompasses 4 native and 10 introduced species. Leaves are green, hairless and dull on the top, and downy and paler grey/green underneath. Bella Moth Biology The Bella Moth is a colorful moth distributed throughout North and South America. Back to Family Page. In the laboratory, Utetheisa ornatrix male larvae developed faster and resulted in In the upland pine habitat behind the Florida Museum, Sourakov witnessed bella moths feeding on the exotic species C. lanceolata at the beginning of October two years in a row. Males convert some of their Crotalaria alkaloids to a related compound hydroxydanaidal (HD), and upon approaching a female, expose two eversible brushes (coremata) from the tip of the abdomen that contain HD saturated scales (Conner et al. Full-grown larvae are 30-35 mm in length. 1983. Fairchild’s writings suggest a variety of exotic rattlebox plants in the genus Crotalaria were introduced to South Florida about 100 years ago. 1999) and Argiope florida Chamberlin & Ivie (Eisner et al. (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) (Bezzerides et al. obovata (G. Don) Pohill (formerly Crotalaria mucronata Desv.) Ornate bella moth larvae sequester these chemicals and become poisonous (and usually repellent) to predators. Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the nectar produced by the flowers while birds and small mammals eat the fruit. Pupae: The pupae are black with irregular orange-brown bands and are covered with a loose layer of silk (Figure 4). Sourakov said species of rattlebox have also been occasionally documented to grow among crops, ultimately contaminating cereal consumed by humans, and herbs used in tea. By late November, the plant was nearly dead. Adults are approximately 1.5 inches in wingspan. Asters come in a close second on our list of native caterpillar food plants. The lightly consumed C. retusa nearby became the new host plant, allowing the moth to continue to persist through December. 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