one of several species called informally the Wattle Goat Moth
(previously known as Xyleutes encalypti)
ZEUZERINAE, COSSIDAE, COSSOIDEA
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. Despite its scientific name, the caterpillars bore into the trunks of :
They bore down through the trunk to the roots, making a borehole with a length up to 1 metre.
When the caterpillar is fully grown, it bores another upward hole 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.
After metamorphosis: it climbs up to emerge into world above, leaving the empty pupal case sticking out of the ground.
The adult moths have forewings that are speckled grey and brown with two indistinct pale misaligned half streaks, each sometimes having a black mark near the middle. The hindwings are reddish-brown at the base, fading to grey-brown at the margins. The wingspan is up to 20 cms.
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.
The adults of Endoxyla encalypti have been found around Australia, including
Further reading :
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.
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.
(updated 9 September 2011, 17 January 2016, 25 November 2019, 18 December 2020, 7 January 2022)