Gastrophora henricaria Guenée, 1857
Beautiful Leaf Moth or Fallen-bark Looper
(erroneously : Gatrophora henricaria)
OENOCHROMINAE,   GEOMETRIDAE,   GEOMETROIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Alison Milton, Higgins, Australian Capital Territory)

The Caterpillars of this species are brown, with a pair of protuberances on abdominal segment three. The first three pairs of prolegs are vestigial, and there are dark triangular ventral marks under those segments. Intermediate instars have a dark chevron on the back of each segment, and an orange dorsal patch on the fourth segment.


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

Later instars have a pattern of fine dark lines in elongated distorted loops all over the body.


(Photo: courtesy of Alison Milton, Hawker, Australian Capital Territory)

The caterpillars feed on the foliage of various species in MYRTACEAE, including :

  • various species of Gum Trees ( Eucalyptus species ), and
  • Brush Box ( Lophostemon confertus ).


    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Evan Harris, Ipswich, Queensland)

    The male adult moths have fawn forewings, each with a dark brown transverse line, and a prominent dark brown dot near the base of the hind margin.


    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Roy McDowall, Mount Jerrabomberra, New South Wales)

    The female adult moths have fawn forewings, each with a broad slightly darker trapezoidal transverse band, and a faint dark brown dot near the base of the hind margin.


    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Ian McMillan, Imbil, Queensland)

    The hindwings of both sexes obscured in the normal resting position, and are a gaudy orange, with a submarginal arc of black dots, and a black transverse line, and a black patch at the base.


    resting underside, with camouflaged hindwings obscuring the forewings
    (Photo: courtesy of Scott Gavins, Fraser Coast, Queensland)

    In its resting position, the underside of each hindwing covers the undersides of the forewings, and is pale brown with a large slightly darker patch, and a submarginal arc of black dots. The underside of each forewing is displayed when the moth is disturbed, and is a startling yellow with a large black patch containing a bluish-purple blotch, connected by an orange triangle to the base.

    It is interesting that the upper surfaces of the forewings and the undersides of the hindwings are camouflaged, and conversely, the upper surfaces of the hindwings and the undersides of the forewings, are used for display.


    fore and hind wing undersides, drawing by Achille Guenée,

    in Boisduval & Guenée: Uranides et Phalénites,
    Histoire naturelle des insectes; spécies général des lépidoptères,
    Volume 9, Part 9 (1857), Plate 21, fig. 4,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    The females have narrow filamentous antennae, and a wingspan of about 8 cms. The males are smaller, with antennae that have substantial pectinations, and have a wingspan of about 6 cms.

    The species is found over much of the south-eastern quarter of Australia, including

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory,
  • Victoria, and
  • South Australia.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pls. 10.2, 26.12, p. 368.

    Achille Guenée,
    in Boisduval & Guenée: Uranides et Phalénites,
    Histoire naturelle des insectes; spécies général des lépidoptères,
    Volume 9, Part 9 (1857), p. 187, No. 290, and also Plate 21, fig. 4.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria: Part 4,
    Emeralds and Allies - GEOMETROIDEA (B)
    ,
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2013, pp. 12-13.


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    (updated 20 June 2013, 18 February 2018, 15 March 2019)