Giant Wood Moth
(one synonym: Xyleutes boisduvali Rothschild, 1896)
ZEUZERINAE, COSSIDAE, COSSOIDEA
(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.
magnified front view of head, split collar, and prothorax
drawings by Walter W. Froggatt, listed as Zeuzera macleayi,
The caterpillars live in holes that they bore into
The caterpillars grow to a length of about 10 cms. They look fat, with a diameter of about 2 cms.
The caterpillars pupate in their borehole. When the adult moth emerges, the empty pupal skin is left sticking out of the hole.
The adult moths have a variable vague pattern of light and dark grey or brown on the forewings.
The forewings each have a sinuous hind-margin, and the hindwings each a convex hind-margin.
(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.
The males are only half the size of the females, and have a wingspan up to 11 cms.
male, drawing by Walter W. Froggatt, listed as Zeuzera macleayi,
The species occurs in
Further reading :
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.
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 25.
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.
(updated 21 August 2012, 1 January 2019, 15 February 2020, 5 March 2021)