Pericyma cruegeri (Butler, 1886)
Poinciana Looper
(previously known as Homoptera cruegeri)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Pericyma cruegeri
early instar
(Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Bundaberg, Queensland)

The Caterpillars have a narrow thorax and wider abdomen and head. They move like loopers, as they only have 2 pairs of prolegs. They are initially green with white lines. The head is green with two white lines. When disturbed, the caterpillar bends its head right back, and thrashes from side to side.

Pericyma cruegeri
(Photo: courtesy of Matthew Connors, Townsville, Queensland)

Later instars become grey with black spots and a black line down the back. They grow to length of about 7 cm.

Pericyma cruegeri
later instar
(Photo: courtesy of Jan MacDonald, Finch Hatton, Queensland)

The caterpillars feed communally at first but separate when older, feeding on various trees of the plant family CAESALPINIACEAE, including :

  • Yellow Poinciana ( Peltophorum pterocarpum ), and
  • Poinciana ( Delonix regia ).

    Pericyma cruegeri

    Pupation occurs in a cocoon covered in debris on the ground some distance from the foodplant. The cocoon has a length of about 2 cms.

    Pericyma cruegeri
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The adult moth is brown with a complex pattern of dark lines and patches, and often with some white areas.

    (Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland)

    The moth is very variable in its coloration. The legs are dark brown with white joints. The wingspan is about 4 cms.

    (Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland)

    The species occurs in south-east Asia including :

  • Hong Kong,
  • New Guinea,
  • Singapore,
  • Thailand,

    and also in Australia:

  • northern New South Wales, and
  • Queensland.

    Further reading :

    Arthur G. Butler,
    Heterocera from the Australian region,
    Transactions of the Entomological Society of London,
    1886, pp. 411-412.

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 47.3, p. 452.

    Buck Richardson,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2008, p. 26.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 148.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 5 September 2010, 24 October 2018)