Anthela denticulata (Newman, 1856)
Toothed Anthelid
(previously known as Teara denticulata)
Don Herbison-Evans,
Stella Crossley

Anthela denticulata
white form
(Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

This is a hairy Caterpillar with variable coloring. In Melbourne it has been found varying in colour from black and white to black and red.

Anthela denticulata
red form
(Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

It has been found feeding on various Grasses ( POACEAE ), including

  • the native Common Tussock Grass ( Poa labillardierei ),
  • the exotic Chilean Needle Grass ( Nassella neesiana ), and
  • various Cereal crops.

    Anthela denticulata
    (Photo: courtesy of Peter Marriott, Moths of Victoria - Part 1)

    The caterpillar grows to a length of about 4 cms.

    Anthela denticulata
    (Photo: courtesy of Graham Jury, Melbourne, Victoria)

    The caterpillar pupates in a buff papery double-walled cocoon at ground level, attached to some salient object.

    Anthela denticulata
    (Photo: courtesy of Peter Marriott, Moths of Victoria - Part 1)

    The adult moths are black with wavy white lines, and two white spots near each anterior margin. The hind wings are white, edged with black. During courtship, the males open and close their wings, exposing the white hind wings in a spectacular display. The wingspan of both sexes is about 5 cms.

    Anthela denticulata
    (Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

    The adults of Anthela denticulata are superficially similar to those of Anthela basigera, Anthela euryphrica, and Anthela oressarcha, but the four species occur in four different areas of the country:

  • Anthela denticulata occurs mainly in southern Victoria.
  • Anthela basigera occurs mainly in South Australia.
  • Anthela euryphrica occurs mainly in central New South Wales.
  • Anthela oressarcha occurs mainly in the mountain areas of southern New South Wales.

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 13.7, p. 396.

    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), p. 94.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 1,
    Silk Moths and Allies - BOMBYCOIDEA
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2008, pp. 16-17, 20-21.

    Edward Newman,
    Characters of a few Australian Lepidoptera, Collected by Mr. Thomas R. Oxley,
    Transactions of the Entomological Society of London,
    New Series, Volume 3, Number 8 (1856), p. 283, No. 1.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 22 December 2013, 3 July 2023)