Avatha discolor (Fabricius, 1794)
(one synonym : Hypaetra trigonifera Walker, 1858)
CATOCALINAE,   EREBIDAE,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Alison Petelski, Brisbane, Queensland)

The caterpillar of this species is quite variable in colours and pattern, but usually is basically white with many black lines along the body. The head is pale brown with dark spots. The spiracles are white in black circles.


(Photo: courtesy of Alison Petelski, Brisbane, Queensland)

The first abdominal segment has a black, white and orange triangular hump. The last segment also has a triangular hump. The sides of the penultimate segments and of the claspers are orange. The first pair of prolegs are degenerate, so the caterpillar moves in a looper fashion.

The caterpillar was found feeding on

  • Australian Crow Ash ( Guioa semiglauca, SAPINDACEAE ).


    open cocoon showing pupa
    (Photo: courtesy of Alison Petelski, Brisbane, Queensland)

    The caterpillar grew to a length of about 4.5 cms. It pupated in a cocoon amongst the ground litter. The pupa had a length of about 2 cms.


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

    The adult moth is quite variable in colours and pattern, but usually is brown with a broad tapering pale wavy band across the middle of each forewing, with a pale finger poking outwards halfway across.


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

    The female is less boldly marked than the male. The hindwings and the undersides of both sexes are plain brown, darkening toward the margins. The wingspan of both sexes is about 5 cms.


    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

    The species is found in across south-east Asia and the western Pacific, including

  • Borneo,
  • Cook Islands,
  • Fiji,
  • Henderson Island,
  • India,

    and in Australia in:

  • Queensland, and
  • Norfolk Island.


    female underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)


    Further reading :

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Entomologia Systematica Emendata et Aucta,
    Tom. 3, Part 2 (1793), p. 50, No. 136.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 128.


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    (updated 7 February 2011, 17 August 2013, 1 March 2020)