- Subfamily: Acontiinae, Aediini
- Wingspan: 34-40 mm
- Flight period: May - Oct
- Spread: Common
- Host plants: Convolvulaceae
The Aedia leucomelas also called The Eastern Alchymist, sweet potato leaf worm or sorcerer is a moth of the Noctuidae family,
Acontiinae subfamily, with a wingspan of 34-40 mm.
In Europe it is distributed in patches, in fact we find it in Portugal, Spain, France, Benelux, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania *.
In Italy it is also present in the islands. *
Its range extends to Africa and the whole Palearctic eco-zone, up to Japan. The subspecies Aedia leucomelas acronyctoides is found in Australia.
The wings of the Aedia leucomelas are of a sooty brown color, sometimes almost black, with a white / grisgiastra spot, not always present, with a pattern similar to a bud at the opening. Two curved black lines divide the wing into three parts. In the median area two spots are visible, one roundish more internal and a second kidney shape sometimes with white / greyish shades towards the outside. the border is black and formed by a series of small spots.
The hind wings each have a white basal area and a white area in the rear corner of the wings (tornus) and in the outer edge of the wing (termen). **
The moth, while at rest, shows white spots, opening and closing its wings. The lower parts of the wings have white basal areas interspersed with a black disc crescent. Head and thorax are in the background color of the li while the abdomen has white / greyish bands on the sides.
Bivoltine moth has flickers from May to October it seems to winter at the pupa stage. It prefers sandy thermophilic habitats. ***
The eggs are spherical knurled with longitudinal marks, initially white and subsequently have a dark red mark on the apexes and a transversal red line. **
The caterpillar of this species is dark gray in color with lighter patches and with a wide pale yellow stripe running along each side, with lateral lines orange that run parallel above and below these broad stripes. There is sometimes a pale spot on the last abdominal segment, and two important black points on the second abdominal segment. **
The pupa is amber in color with brown shades and is located inside a silky cocoon covered with soil residues. **
The larva feeds on Convolvulaceae including Convolvulus. sepium, Convolvulus erubescens and Convolvulus arvensis, but also of Ipomoea pes-caprae, Ipomoea batatas and possibly Chondrilla juncea. ****
* Lepidoptera mundi https://lepidoptera.eu/ - Fauna Europea https://fauna-eu.org/
** Bestimmungshilfe für die in Europa nachgewiesenen Schmetterlingsarten - http://lepiforum.de/
*** Roland Robineau, Guide de papillons nocturne de France, Delachaux et Niestlé, 2011 p.100
**** Herbison-Evans, Don & Crossley, Stella (17 September 2013). "Aedia leucomelas (Linnaeus, 1758) Eastern Alchymist or Sweet Potato Leaf Worm"