Pink Bellied Moth
(one synonym is: Monoctenia decora Walker, 1869)
OENOCHROMINAE , GEOMETRIDAE , GEOMETROIDEA
brown and black form
Bruce Anstee, Riverstone, Sydney)
These Caterpillars are brown with a broad black band along the back, or green.
Both forms have a scattering of white dots, and have pairs of pale spots on abdominal segments one, three, and eight. Small horns project from these. The Caterpillars have only two pairs of ventral prolegs.
When disturbed, the Caterpillar curls the head under the body exposing the horns and markings on the thorax and the start of the abdomen.
They feed on various members of the plant family PROTEACEAE :
The caterpillars grow to a length of about 4 cms.
The pupa is brown. The pupal stage can be as short as 3 weeks in summer.
The general wing colour of the adult moths varies: at one extreme some are pink and at the other some are brown. The body also varies from pink to brown. The moths all have a brown or yellow line across the upper surface of each wing. Also each forewing has a recurved wingtip, and a small transparent spot surrounded by an irregular dark mark on both the upper and under surfaces.
(Photos: courtesy of Evan Harris)
In its resting pose, the lines are aligned and resemble the vein in a leaf.
Underneath, there is also a large dark purple blotch under each forewing, and a dark line under each hindwing. The moths have a wingspan of 5 to 7 cms.
A female moth will lay over 100 eggs, which are pale green and oval.
The species is found over most of Australia, including
The species has recently been the subject of DNA analysis, and is now thought to be two species. One is still called Oencochroma vinaria. The other has been named Oenochroma barcodificata Hausmann, 2009. The two species look superficially similar. The latter so far has only been found in Tasmania and New South Wales.
Further reading :
Butterflies and Moths, Collins Eyewitness Handbooks, Sydney 1992, p. 193.
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 10.12, p. 368.
Pat and Mike Coupar,
Flying Colours, New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 48.
Moths of Victoria: Part 4
Emeralds and Allies - GEOMETROIDEA (B),
Entomological Society of Victoria, 2013, pp. 10-11.
Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
A Guide to Australian Moths, CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 143.
(updated 17 June 2013, 18 September 2013)