Cocalus Fruit Piercing Moth
(formerly known as Phalaena cocalus)
CALPINAE, EREBIDAE, NOCTUOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Julatten, Queensland)
This Caterpillar is patchy brown in colour, with a complex set of markings.
It has two fake eyes on each side of the abdomen. It only has three pairs of prolegs.
It has a threat display of lifting the front half of the body and the last third up in the air.
It has been found feeding on various plants in MENISPERMACEAE, such as
The caterpillar grows to a length of about 6.5 cms. The pupa is dark brown with a length of about 3 cms. The pupa is formed in loosely constructed cocoon in leaf litter.
The female adult moths of this species have forewings that are dark brown with several white spots. The hindwings are yellow with a broad black margin.
The male moths have patchy brown forewings with no white spots, but the hindwings are orange with a broad black margin. For both sexes, each forewing has a hooked wingtip, and a concave hind margin. The head and thorax are dark brown, but the abdomen is bright orange. The wingspan is about 6 cms.
The species has been found in :
and in Australia in
Both sexes of the adult moths are pests in Lychee and Carambola orchards. The moths pierce the fruit to suck the juice, thereby damaging the fruit and allowing the ingress of fungal spores and bacteria.
Various systems have been proposed for controlling the pest including:
Further reading :
Description de Papillons Exotiques,
Uitlandsche kapellen voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen,
Amsterdam Baalde, Volume 2 (1777), p. 59, and also Plate 134, fig. B.
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 137.
(updated 15 October 2011, 21 July 2015, 6 September 2020)