Donuca spectabilis Walker, 1865
(one synonym : Serrodes xanthorrhoea Felder & Rogenhofer, 1875)
White-spotted Owl-Moth
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

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

The Caterpillar of this species feeds on :

  • Golden Wreath Wattle ( Acacia saligna, MIMOSACEAE ).

    male, drawing by Felder & Rogenhofer, listed as Serrodes xanthorrhoea
    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Band 2, Abtheilung 2 (5) (1875), Plate CXII, fig. 21,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    The forewings of the adult moth have a complex brown pattern. The hindwings are also brown, but each has two white patches. The abdomen has orange penultimate segments. The forelegs have red hairs. The moth has a wingspan of about 5 cms.

    showing red hairy forelegs
    (Photo: by Samantha Bennett, courtesy of Martin Bennett, Lockyer Valley, Queensland)

    The species is found over most of mainland Australia, including

  • Western Australia,
  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • South Australia.

    Some taxonomists have synonomised this species with Donuca memorabilis. However, Walker himself, the author of both species, clearly thought they were different species, differing particularly in the colouring of the forelegs. Also the distinguished Lepidopterist Ian Common treated the two species as distinct in his book Moths of Australia, so here we list them separately.

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 21.12, p. 454.

    Rudolf Felder & Alois F. Rogenhofer,
    Zoologischer Theil: Lepidoptera,
    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Band 2, Abtheilung 2 (5) (1875), p. 18, and also Plate 112, Fig. 21.

    Peter Hendry,
    At the Light Trap: Records of daytime flying moths (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Agaristinae) and the genus Donuca (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Catocalinae),
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 55 (December 2009), pp. 24-27,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 8,
    Night Moths and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA(B)
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2017, pp. 22-23.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 132.

    Francis Walker,
    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Volume 33 (1865), p. 926.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 14 August 2008, 10 April 2017)