Endoxyla cinereus (Tepper, 1890)
Giant Wood Moth
(one synonym: Xyleutes boisduvali Rothschild, 1896)
ZEUZERINAE,   COSSIDAE,   COSSOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

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

These Caterpillars are found in three colour schemes: pale yellow, pale pink, and with alternating bands of pale yellow and pale pink. The face is brown, with a pale yellow forehead, and a split brown collar. The prothorax is pale yellow studded with coloured tubercles.

Endoxyla cinereus

Endoxyla cinereus
magnified front view of head, split collar, and prothorax
drawings by Walter W. Froggatt, listed as Zeuzera macleayi,

Forest insects of Australia, Sydney 1923, p. 46,
image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by NCSU Libraries.

The caterpillars live in holes that they bore into

  • Gum trees ( Eucalyptus species, MYRTACEAE ).

    The caterpillars grow to a length of about 10 cms. They look fat, with a diameter of about 2 cms.

    Endoxyla cinereus
    caterpillar and pupa in their boreholes
    drawing by Harriet Scott, listed as Zeuzera macleayi,

    Original Water-Colour, courtesy of the Australian Museum.

    The caterpillars pupate in their borehole. When the adult moth emerges, the empty pupal skin is left sticking out of the hole.


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

    The adult moths have a variable vague pattern of light and dark grey or brown on the forewings.

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

    The forewings each have a sinuous hind-margin, and the hindwings each a convex hind-margin.


    female

    Endoxyla cinereus
    male
    (Photos: courtesy of Paul Kay, Millstream-Chichester National Park, Western Australia)

    The moths are very large. The females have a wingspan up to 23 cms.

    Endoxyla cinereus
    female
    drawing by Harriet Scott, listed as Zeuzera macleayi,

    Original Water-Colour, courtesy of the Australian Museum.

    The males are only half the size of the females, and have a wingspan up to 11 cms.

    Endoxyla cinereus
    female, drawing by Walter W. Froggatt, listed as Zeuzera macleayi,

    Endoxyla cinereus
    male, drawing by Walter W. Froggatt, listed as Zeuzera macleayi,

    Forest insects of Australia, Sydney 1923, p. 44,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by NCSU Libraries.

    The species occurs in

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

    Endoxyla cinereus
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)


    Further reading :

    David Carter,
    Butterflies and Moths, Collins Eyewitness Handbooks, Sydney 1992, p. 293.

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 26.12, p. 271.

    Walter W. Froggatt,
    The Giant Wood Moth,
    Forest insects of Australia,
    Sydney 1923, pp. 43-47,

    Peter B. McQuillan, Jan A. Forrest, David Keane, & Roger Grund,
    Caterpillars, moths, and their plants of Southern Australia,
    Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc., Adelaide (2019), pp. 68-69.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 25.

    Harriet Scott,
    Original Water-Colour "Zeuzera macleayi"

    Johann Gottlieb Otto Tepper,
    Part II Lepidoptera, or butterflies and moths,
    Common native insects of South Australia,
    Adelaide, 1890, pp. 30-31.


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    (updated 21 August 2012, 1 January 2019, 15 February 2020, 5 March 2021)