Acalyphes philorites Turner, 1926
ARCHIEARINAE ,   GEOMETRIDAE ,   GEOMETROIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Cathy Young & Stella Crossley

Acalyphes philorites
early instar
(Photo: copyright Cathy Young)

These Caterpillars are initially pale green with a dark brown head. Later they become green with yellow between the segments and a pale brown head. These later instars closely resemble the shoots of their foodplant, which is :

  • Pencil Pine ( Athrotaxis cupressoides, CUPRESSACEAE ).

    Acalyphes philorites
    late instar
    (Photo: copyright Cathy Young)

    The caterpillars have a full set of 16 legs, but curiously move by looping like the caterpillars of many other species of the same family (GEOMETRIDAE) which have a reduced number of legs. The caterpillar grows to a length of about 2 cms.

    Acalyphes philorites
    (Photo: copyright Cathy Young)

    The adult moths have dark brown forewings with white markings. The hindwings are pale brown with a reddish brown border. The wingspan is about 2 cms.

    The adults of have a relatively extended flying period from late spring to late summer. Females appear in the latter half of this period. The adults even fly in late autumn on sunny days, braving the often very cold conditions at high altitude at that time of the year in the Tasmanian mountains. The moths are relatively easy to intercept at that time. They rest with forewings held tent-wise above the body and the hindwings covered. Male moths have been observed feeding on the flowers of Pentachondra pumila.

    Acalyphes philorites
    eggs, magnified
    (Photo: copyright Cathy Young)

    The eggs are laid singly, and are pale green, smooth, and ellipsoidal.

    The species is found in the mountainous areas of Tasmania.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, p. 364.

    A. Jefferis Turner,
    New and Little known Tasmanian Lepidoptera,
    courtesy of the
    Library Open Repository, University of Tasmania Library,
    Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania,
    1925, p. 94.


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    (updated 23 March 2012)