Cruria donowani (Boisduval, 1832)
Crow or Donovan's Day Moth
(erroneously : Agarista donovanii)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Cruria donowani
(Photo: courtesy of Ian Common, from Moths of Australia)

This Caterpillar is banded with black, white and brown. The black rings are each continuous around the body, so differing from caterpillars of the related Cruria synopla. The caterpillar has been known to feed on various plants, including :

  • Elephant Ears ( Alocasia species, ARACEAE ),
  • Hagweeds ( Boerhavia species, NYCTAGINACEAE ), and
  • Kangaroo Vines ( Cissus species, VITACEAE ).

    The caterpillar is thought to pupate in a curled leaf of its foodplant.

    Cruria donowani
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The adult moth is black, with white spots on the forewings and a ragged diagonal cream-coloured bar across each hindwing. The moths have a wingspan of about 5 cms. The moths are unusual in that they are on the wing in daytime, like butterflies, and unlike moths from most other families. Also they are inclined to rest with head pointing downward.

    Cruria donowani
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The species closely resembles Cruria synopla, but the hindwing bar of Cruria donowani is whiter and more ragged. Also, Cruria donowani has NO narrow pale yellow line from the base to the middle of each forewing.

    Cruria donowani
    (Photo: courtesy of Trevor Jinks, Upper Burnett, Queensland)

    The species is found in drier areas of Australia in

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria, and
  • South Australia.

    Further reading :

    Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Dechauffour de Boisduval,
    Faune Entomologique de L'Ocean Pacifique,
    Voyage de Decouvertes de la Corvette l'Astrolabe,
    Division 7, Part 1 : Lepidopteres (1832), pp. 176-177.

    Ian F.B. Common ,
    Moths of Australia,  
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 32.11, p. 464.

    Ross Kendall,
    Cruria donowani (Boisduval, 1832) (Noctuidae, Agaristinae),
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 52 (March 2009) pp. 9-12.

    Peter B. McQuillan, Jan A. Forrest, David Keane, & Roger Grund,
    Caterpillars, moths, and their plants of Southern Australia,
    Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc., Adelaide (2019), pp. 171-172.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 8,
    Night Moths and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA(B)
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2017, pp. 34-35.

    John T. Moss,
    Life history notes on the day-flying moth Cruria synopla Turner, 1903 and its distinction from C. donowani (Boisduval, 1832) (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae),
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 59 (December 2010) pp. 4-8.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 11 April 2011, 1 February 2024)