Anthela ocellata (Walker, 1855)
Eyespot Anthelid
(one synonym : Ommatoptera tetrophthalma Herrich-Schäffer, [1856})
Don Herbison-Evans,
Stella Crossley

Anthela ocellata

This is a brown hairy Caterpillar with a brown and black head capsule divided by a central pale inverted Y, making its head look as though it has two large brown eyes. It is hairy with two longer tufts on the thorax looking like a pair of horns.

Anthela ocellata
(Photo: courtesy of Carol Buchanan, New South Wales)

There is a double row of pink spots all along the back.

Anthela ocellata
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

It feeds on various Grasses ( POACEAE ), especially exotics like :

  • Chilean Needle Grass ( Nassella neesiana ),
  • Stebbin's Grass ( Ehrharta erecta ), and
  • various Cereal crops.

    Anthela ocellata

    When disturbed, the caterpillar rolls into a tight spiral, with its head in the centre. The Caterpillar grows to a length of 5 cms.

    Anthela ocellata
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    In the wild, it pupates in a buff papery double-walled cocoon in the debris on the ground. In captivity, it crawls to the top of the container to pupate.

    Anthela ocellata
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The moths are buff with two dark brown spots on each forewing, and pale margins. They have a wingspan up to 6 cms.

    Anthela ocellata
    (Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The species occurs in Australia, from Bundaberg to Hobart, including:

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

    Anthela ocellata
    (Photo: courtesy of Laura Levens, Victoria)

    The eggs are buff coloured each with a dark spot, and are laid in a flat cluster. They each have a diameter of about 0.5 mm.

    Anthela ocellata

    Further reading :

    David Carter,
    Butterflies and Moths,
    Collins Eyewitness Handbooks, Sydney 1992, p. 213.

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 39.18, p. 396.

    Pat and Mike Coupar,
    Flying Colours,
    New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 27.

    Peter Hendry,
    The Anthelidae,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 50 (September 2008), pp 27-31,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 1,
    Silk Moths and Allies - BOMBYCOIDEA
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2008, pp. 16-19.

    Francis Walker,
    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 4 (1855), p. 887.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 155.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 24 April 2013, 22 December 2013)