Endoxyla encalypti Herrich-Schaffer, [1854]
one of several species called informally the Wattle Goat Moth
(previously known as Xyleutes encalypti)
ZEUZERINAE ,   COSSIDAE ,   COSSOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Peter Marriott & Stella Crossley


Drawing by Arthur Bartholomew, listed as Zeuzera eucalypti,
Prodromus of Zoology (1861), Plate 30,
courtesy of Museum Victoria

The young Caterpillars of this species are pink, later becoming buff coloured, with a brown and buff patterned head. The caterpillars bore into the trunks of :

  • various Wattles ( Acacia, MIMOSACEAE ).

    They bore down through the trunk to the roots, making a borehole with a length up to 1 metre.


    pupa
    Drawing by Arthur Bartholomew, listed as Zeuzera eucalypti,
    Prodromus of Zoology (1861), Plate 30,
    courtesy of Museum Victoria

    When the caterpillar is fully grown, it bores another hole this time in the soil, from the root up to the surface, which it lines with silk and frass. It pupates at the bottom of this tunnel.


    pupal tunnel
    Drawing by Arthur Bartholomew, listed as Zeuzera eucalypti,
    Prodromus of Zoology (1861), Plate 30,
    courtesy of Museum Victoria

    After metamorphosis: it climbs up to emerge into world above, leaving the empty pupal case sticking out of the ground.


    (Photo: courtesy of Wayne Jeffery, Coffs Harbour)

    The adult moths have forewings that are speckled grey and brown with indistinct light and dark streaks. The hindwings are reddish-brown at the base, fading to grey-brown at the margins. The wingspan is around 10 cms.


    (Photo: courtesy of Wayne Jeffery, Coffs Harbour) close up of thorax

    The thorax of the adult moth has an uncanny likeness to the head of a mouse! The 'eyes' of the mouse are the thicker parts of the bluish lines running on either side of the thorax, located just behind the real eyes. One can also see perhaps the face of an old man with a beard. Maybe these likenesses to faces help deter potential predators.


    (Photo: courtesy of Peter Marriott, Paynesville, Victoria)

    The adults of Endoxyla encalypti have been found along the eastern seaboard of Australia, including

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, where Wayne Jeffery caught his specimen in November,
  • Victoria, where they occur around the Gippsland Lakes in February, and
  • Tasmania.


    (Photo: courtesy of Vanessa Mack, Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)


    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, p. 271.

    Gottlieb August Wilhelm Herrich-Schäffer,
    Sammlung neuer oder wenig bekannter aussereuropäischer Schmetterlinge,
    Verzeichniss der in diesem Werke gelieferten Arten nach Reihenfolge ihrer Veroffentlichung,
    Series I, Volume 1, Part 3 (1855), p. 58, and figs. 163, 164.

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

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths, CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 93.


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    (updated 9 September 2011, 17 January 2016)