Hypercompe trinitatis (Lepidoptera, Erebidae, Arctiinae) and its Caterpillar in Trinidad, W.I.

Matthew J.W. Cock, Perry Polar, Mike G. Rutherford, Giovanni Cafá, Alan G. Buddie


We document the polyphagous minor pest caterpillar of Hypercompe trinitatis (Rothschild) from Trinidad. This is presented in the context of an analysis of the literature and museum specimens to document the history, taxonomy, variability and distribution of this species in Trinidad and Tobago. Notes on identification are provided in comparison with H. cunigunda (Stoll), the only other species of the genus known from Trinidad, here newly recorded for the island; images of pinned adults are provided for both. CO1 DNA barcodes were obtained for two Trinidad specimens of H. trinitatis. Comparison with sequences in the Barcode of Life Database (BOLD) shows that H. trinitatis forms part of a species complex (or perhaps a complex species) which can be referred to as BIN (Barcode Identification Number) BOLD:AAA1342.


Arctiini; chilli pepper; pak choi; cocoa; Hypercompe cunigunda; DNA barcode; BOLD:AAA1342

Full Text:



Bates, M. 1933. Insect parasites of citrus in Central America. Florida Entomologist, 17: 29-32, 45-47.

Blest, A.D. 1964. Protective display and sound production in some new world arctiid and ctenuchid moths. Zoologica, 49: 161-181.

Cock, M.J.W. 2017. A preliminary catalogue of the moths (Lepidoptera except Papilionoidea) of Tobago, West Indies. Insecta Mundi, 0585: 1-58.

Cock, M.J.W., Beseh, P.K., Buddie, A.G., Cafá, G. and Crozier, J. 2017. Molecular methods to detect Spodoptera frugiperda in Ghana, and implications for monitoring the spread of invasive species in developing countries. Scientific Reports, 7(4103): 1-10.

Donald, R.G. 1945. The insects of “black sage” (Cordia macrostachya) in Trinidad. Associateship of the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture thesis, Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, St. Augustine, Trinidad. 45 p. + 3 pl.

Forbes, W.T.M. 1922. The genus Ecpantheria (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 22: 310-330.

Hall, D.W. 2014. Giant woolly bear (larva), giant or great leopard moth (adult) Hypercompe scribonia (Stoll 1790) (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Arctiinae). EENY599. Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Extension, 6 p.

Hampson, G.F. 1920. Catalogue of the Lepidoptera Phalaenae in the British Museum. Supplement. 2. London: British Museum (Natural History). xxiii + 619 p.

Harrison, J.O. and Stephens, C.S. 1966. Notes on the biology of Ecpantheria icasia (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae), a pest of bananas. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 5: 671-674.

Hebert, P.D.N., Cywinska, A., Ball, S.L. and deWaard, J.R. 2003. Biological identifications through DNA barcodes. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, Biological Science, 270: 313-321.

Janzen, D.H. and Hallwachs, W. 2018. Dynamic database for an inventory of the macrocaterpillar fauna, and its food plants and parasitoids, of Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG), northwestern Costa Rica. Available at http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu (Accessed: 7 May, 2018).

Kaye, W.J. 1901. A preliminary catalogue of the Lepidoptera Heterocera of Trinidad. Transactions of the Entomological Society of London, 1901: 115-158, 2 pl.

Kaye, W.J. and Lamont, N. 1927. A catalogue of the Trinidad Lepidoptera Heterocera (moths). Memoirs of the Department of Agriculture, Trinidad and Tobago, 3: 1-144.

Kirkpatrick, T.W. 1954. Notes on minor insect pests of cacao in Trinidad. Part 2. Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). p. 67-72. In: A report on Cacao Research 1953. St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago: Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture.

Miller, J.C., Janzen, D.H. and Hallwachs, W. 2007. 100 Butterflies and Moths: Portraits from the Tropical Forests of Costa Rica. Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 256 p.

Miller, S.E., Hausmann, A., Hallwachs, W. and Janzen, D.H. 2016. Advancing taxonomy and bioinventories with DNA barcodes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B, Biological Science, 371(20150339): 1-8.

Plank, H.K. 1938. Entomological Investigations. p. 92-95. In: Report of the Puerto Rico Experiment Station 1937. Washington, DC, USA: United States Department of Agriculture.

Ratnasingham, S. and Hebert, P.D.N. 2013. A DNA-based registry for all animal species: the Barcode Index Number (BIN) System. PLoS ONE, 8(8), e66213: 1-16. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066213

Robinson, G.S., Ackery, P.R., Kitching, I.J., Beccaloni, G.W. and Hernández, L.M. 2017. HOSTS - A Database of the World’s Lepidopteran Hostplants. Natural History Museum, London. [Online] Available at https://www.nhm.ac.uk/our-science/data/hostplants/ (Accessed 7 May, 2018).

Rothschild, W. 1910. Descriptions of new species of Arctianae [sic] in the Tring Museum. Novitates Zoologicae, 17: 172-188.

Ryckewaert, P. 1998. Illustrated guide of insects and mites on vegetable crops in the Lesser Antilles. Martinique, France: CIRAD-FLHOR. 111 p.

Seitz, A. 1919. 13. Genus: Ecpantheria Hbn. p. 315-319; pl. 40-41. In: Seitz, A., ed., The Macrolepidoptera of the World. Vol. 6. The American Bombyces and Sphinges. Stuttgart, Germany: Alfred Kernen.

Singer, M.S. and Bernays, E.A. 2009. Specialized generalists: behavioral and evolutionary ecology of polyphagous woolly bear caterpillars. p. 103-114. In: Conner, W.E., ed., Tiger Moths and Woolly Bears: Behavior, Ecology, and Evolution of the Arctiidae. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.

Van Zwalenburg, R.H. 1916. Notes on the life history of Ecpantheria eridanus Cramer. Insecutor Inscitiae Menstruus, 4: 12-17.

Vincent, B. and Laguerre, M. 2014. Catalogue of the Neotropical Arctiini Leach, [1815] (except Ctenuchina Kirby, 1837 and Euchromiina Butler, 1876) (Insecta, Lepidoptera, Erebidae, Arctiinae). Zoosystema, 36: 137-533.

Wagner, D.L. 2009. The immature stages: structure, function, behavior and ecology. In Conner, W.E., Ed. Tiger moths and Woolly Bears: Behavior, Ecology, and Evolution of the Arctiidae. Oxford University Press: New York, USA, pp. 31–53.

Watson, A. 1977. A review of the suffusa species-group of Hypercompe Hübner, with a description of a new species affecting Gossypium hirsutum L. (cotton). Revista de la Facultad de Agronomía (Maracay), 9: 137-147.

Watson, A. and Goodger, D.T. 1986. Catalogue of the Neotropical Tiger-moths. Occasional Papers on Systematic Entomology, 1: 1-71.

Wilson, H.F. 1894. A list of Trinidad butterflies and moths. Journal of the Field Naturalists’ Club, Port of Spain, 2(4): 102-104.


  • There are currently no refbacks.