Calyptra minuticornis (Guenée, 1852)
Vampire Moth
(previously known as Calpe minuticornis)
CALPINAE ,   NOCTUIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, from
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art

This Caterpillar is black with dark green stripes, and an orange head. The caterpillar has been found feeding on

  • Snake Vine ( Stephania japonica, MENISPERMACAE ).

    The caterpillar grew to a length of about 5 cms. It pupates in a cocoon in between joined dead leaves in ground debris

    The adult moth of this species has wings that are brown, with some diagonal dark lines across each forewing, including one from the wingtip to the middle of the inner margin of each forewing. The hindwings darken at the margins. The forewings each have a recurved margin at the wingtip, and a sinuous recurve on the inner margin. The wingspan is about 4.5 cms.


    (Photo: courtesy of Jeff Keys, Sportsmans Creek, New South Wales)

    The moths pierce fruit to suck the juice, and this species along with other moths in the genus Calyptra are known as the Vampire moths because they have been observed to pierce the skin of animals such as buffalo, zebu and tapir to suck blood. Under experimental conditions, one even pierced human skin and sucked blood.


    (Photo: courtesy of Ian McMillan, Imbil, Queensland)

    The species has been found across south-east Asia, including

  • Borneo,
  • Cambodia,
  • Japan,
  • New Guinea,
  • Taiwan, and
  • Thailand,

    as well as in Australia in

  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.


    Further reading :

    Achille Guenée,
    Noctuélites,
    in Boisduval & Guenée:
    Histoire naturelle des insectes; spécies général des lépidoptères,
    Volume 9, Part 6 (1852), pp. 374-375, No. 1230.

    Lois Hughes & John Moss,
    Fruit-piercing Moths - Night Raiders,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 67 (December 2012), pp. 1, 4-9,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 129.


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    (written 30 May 2013, 31 January 2013, 28 February 2015)