Eudocima cocalus (Cramer, 1777)
Cocalus Fruit Piercing Moth
(formerly known as Phalaena cocalus)
CALPINAE,   EREBIDAE,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Eudocima cocalus
(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Julatten, Queensland)

This Caterpillar is patchy brown in colour, with a complex set of markings.

Eudocima cocalus
(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Julatten, Queensland)

It has two fake eyes on each side of the abdomen. It only has three pairs of prolegs.

Eudocima cocalus
threat display
(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Julatten, Queensland)

It has a threat display of lifting the front half of the body and the last third up in the air.

Eudocima cocalus
head close-up
(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Julatten, Queensland)

It has been found feeding on various plants in MENISPERMACEAE, such as

  • Marathi (Anamirta cocculus), and
  • Snake vine (Tinospora smilacina).

    Eudocima cocalus
    pupa
    (Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Julatten, Queensland)

    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.

    Eudocima cocalus
    female, enjoying some Harpullia fruit
    (Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Julatten, Queensland)

    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.

    Eudocima cocalus
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland)

    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.

    Eudocima cocalus
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland)

    The species has been found in :

  • Borneo,
  • China,
  • India,
  • Philippines,

    and in Australia in

  • Queensland.

    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.

    Eudocima cocalus
    male, drawing by Pieter Cramer, listed as Phalaena cocalus
    ,
    Uitlandsche kapellen voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen,
    Amsterdam Baalde, Volume 2 (1777), Plate CXXXIV, fig. B,
    Image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    Various systems have been proposed for controlling the pest including:

  • the wasp Euplectrus melanocephalus ( EULOPHIDAE ), and
  • surface spray with Mineral Oil,
  • using Pheromone Traps.

    Eudocima cocalus
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Julatten, Queensland)


    Further reading :

    Pieter Cramer,
    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.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 137.


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    (updated 15 October 2011, 21 July 2015, 6 September 2020)