Avatha subumbra (Bethune-Baker, 1906)
(previously known as Ophiusa subumbra)
CATOCALINAE,   EREBIDAE,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Mt Molloy, Queensland)

These Caterpillars are spectacular. They have alternating bands of black and pale yellow along the body, except for a scarlet band on the first abdominal segment. The pale bands vary from white on top to yellow underneath. The penultimate segment has a blunt black double dorsal horn. The caterpillar has two pairs of atrophied prolegs, so walks in a looper fashion.


click on photo to show defensive behaviour
(Photo and Movie: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Mt Molloy, Queensland)

When scared, the caterpillar lifts its head and thorax, and shakes them violently from side to side, which probably deters attack by parasites and predators.


pupa in cocoon
(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Mt Molloy, Queensland)

The caterpillar pupates in a loose cocoon in a curled leaf in the ground litter.


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

The forewings of the adult moths of this species are a variable greyish-brown, each forewing with a broad greenish transverse band which fades towards the base, and a dark spot near the middle of the costa.


(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Mt Molloy, Queensland)

The hindwings are plain brown. The green colour fades to brown in museum specimens. The wingspan is about 6 cms.


repaired digitally
(Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

The undersides are a uniform dark grey.


underside
(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Mt Molloy, Queensland)

The species is found in

  • New Guinea,

    and in Australia in:

  • Queensland.


    head close-ups
    (Photos: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Mt Molloy, Queensland)


    Further reading :

    George Thomas Bethune-Baker,
    New Noctuidae from British New Guinea,
    Novitates Zoologicae,
    Volume 13 (1906), p. 256, No. 202.


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    (updated 3 October 2011, 16 April 2019)