Oeonistis delia (Fabricius, 1787)
LITHOSIINI,   ARCTIINAE,   EREBIDAE,   NOCTUOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Oeonistis delia
(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford,, Mt Molloy, Queensland))

This Caterpillar is hairy and black, with a number of narrow pale green stripes. There is a red verruca, on each side of each segment, and three dark dorsalbulges: one on the thorax, one on the middle segment, and on on the final segment. There is also a white dorsal patch at the front and the back.

Oeonistis delia
(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford,, Mt Molloy, Queensland))

The head is brown, but normally held tucked under the thorax, making it difficult to tell head from tail.

Oeonistis delia
(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford,, Mt Molloy, Queensland))

The caterpillar is found on the trunks of trees, feeding on:

  • Lichen.

    Oeonistis delia
    pupa in cocoon
    (Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford,, Mt Molloy, Queensland))

    The caterpillar grows to a length of about 3.5 cms. It pupates under a piece of loose bark in a sparse cocoon. The pupa is orange, with a brown head, and a brown thorax with a very dark dorsal patch.

    Oeonistis delia
    (Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland, listed as Oeonistis altica)

    The adult moths are deep yellow, with bold black markings on the forewings. The bulges each side of the mesothorax of males are puzzling. Maybe they are some sort of organ involved in ultrasonic signalling used by this species. The females have no such bulges. The wingspan is about 4 cms.

    Oeonistis delia
    (Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland, listed as Oeonistis altica)

    The species is found in

  • New Guinea

    as well as in Australia in

  • Queensland.

    Oeonistis delia
    (Photo: courtesy of Dave Britton and the Australian Museum)

    The moth is often mistaken for the Asian species Oeonistis altica.

    Oeonistis delia
    close up of mesothorax bulges on males
    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland, listed as Oeonistis altica)


    Further reading :

    Peter Hendry,
    Images of Arctiidae moths in the subfamily Lithosiinae,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 55 (December 2009), p. 31,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Classi VI. Glossata. Noctua,
    Mantisssa Insectorum,
    Volume 2 (1787), p. 140, No. 42.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 18.


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    (updated 10 August 2012, 19 February 2020, 16 March 2021)