Don Herbison-Evans (
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)
The early and late instars of this Caterpillar are coloured quite differently. When small, they are black with white bands between the segments.
Later instars are reddish-brown with white spots. It is a true looper, with only two pairs of prolegs. When disturbed, it sways slowly from side to side. It has been found feeding on a wide variety of plants:
and is sometimes a pest on :
It pupates without a cocoon under the soil, taking up to a year to metamorphose. The pupa is dark brown and has a length of about 1.5 cms.
The adult moths have a wide wingspan (male 5 cms., female 6 cms.) for their body length : 1.5 cms. The wings have scalloped edges, and wavy patterns of light and dark brown. The overall colour is quite variable, sometimes being nearly black all over. The moths normally rest with wings flat and all four wings exposed.
The female moths especially have a conspicuous pale bar across the inner part of the costa of both forewings, extending also across the thorax. The females also have thread-like antennae
The male moths often only have some white spots on the leading edge of each forewing. The males have feathery antennae.
The eggs are pale green and ellipsoidal. They are laid in flat groups of up to 50 on the leaves of foodplants.
The moth occurs along most of the eastern side of Australia including:
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, figs. 36.3, 36.4, pp. 67, 367.
Pat and Mike Coupar,
Flying Colours, New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 50.
(updated 21 January 2013)