Taxon profile


Xylena exsoleta maltensis Fibiger, Sammut, Seguna & Catania, 2006

kingdom Animalia - animals »  phylum Arthropoda - arthropods »  class Insecta - insects »  order Lepidoptera - butterflies and moths »  family Noctuidae - owlet moths »  genus Xylena »  species Xylena exsoleta - Sword-grass

Scientific synonyms

Xylena exoleta maltensis (misspelling) m


Taxon in country check-lists*

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Xylena exoleta maltensis ssp. n. differs from the nominotypical subspecies by both fore and hindwings being conspicuously narrower and more pointed at the apex, and with lighter brownish colouration. In the genitalia the uncus is narrower; the sacculus more triangular; the two costal processes are longer; the ampulla is longer; and the juxta, in which the outer sides are parallel, is ventrally broader.


The larva of Xylena exoleta maltensis is polyphagous on the flowers of a variety of plants. In the wild it has been found on the flowers of Hedysarum coronarium L. (Fabaceae), a widely cultivated fodder crop, Chrysanthemum coronarium L. (Asteraceae)
and Gladiolus italicus Mill., (Iridaceae). The latter two species are very common and widely distributed in the Maltese Islands. Valletta (1973) reports the Maltese subspecies feeding on broad-beans (Vicia faba) and kolh-rabi (Brassica oleracea).
The larvae usually hatch in January, feed rapidly, and by the end of March are fully grown. Mature larvae bury themselves underground and aestivate all summer, for half a year. With the fi rst autumn rain, they pupate. Adults are usually on wing from early December till early February


Malta & Gozo

Intertaxon relationships

food: Brassica oleracea L. - Wild Cabbage, Vicia faba L. - Broad Bean, Gladiolus italicus Mill. - Italian Gladiolus, Sulla coronaria (L.) Medik. - Italian Sainfoin, Glebionis coronaria (L.) Cass. ex Spach - Crown Daisy

Links and literature

Fibiger,Sammut,Seguna & Catania (2006): Recent records of Noctuidae from Malta, with five species new to the European fauna, and a new subspecies; Nota lepid. 29 (3/4): 193–213

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