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

Calyptra minuticornis
probable caterpillar of Calyptra minuticornis
(Photo: courtesy of Nomen Nudum, Dowell Creek Track, Victoria)

This Caterpillar is black, with variable white spots, lines, and patches, and an orange head.

Calyptra minuticornis
probable caterpillar of Calyptra minuticornis
(Photo: courtesy of Max Campbell, Brogo, New South Wales)

The caterpillar has been found feeding on

  • Snake Vine ( Stephania japonica, MENISPERMACAE ).

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

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

    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 hind margin of each forewing.

    Calyptra minuticornis
    (Photo: courtesy of Nick Lambert, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales)

    The hindwings darken at the margins. The forewings each have a recurved margin at the wingtip, and a sinuous recurve on the hind margin. The wingspan is about 4.5 cms.

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

    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.

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

    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,
  • New South Wales, and
  • Victoria.

    Calyptra minuticornis
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Jeff Keys, Sportsmans Creek, 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, 22 December 2021)