(one synonym: Phloiopsyche venusta Scott, 1864)
Smaller Green Wood Moth
drawing by Harriet Scott, listed as Phloiopsyche venusta,
Australian Lepidoptera, Volume 1 (1864), Plate 2,
image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Australian Museum.
The eggs of this species are laid on the bark of a foodplant. The young Caterpillars when they hatch, bore horizontally into the the stem and then downwards to make a vertical tunnel in which they live. They cover the opening and surrounding stem with a bag of silk and wood fragments, and emerge nocturnally to feed on the bark under the bag. These caterpillars are off-white, with a dark brown hairy head, and a brown thorax. The back of each abdominal segment has two pale brown dashes, and each segment is creased.
The caterpillars have been recorded attacking plants in various genera in MYRTACEAE including
as well as :
The caterpillars grow to a length of about 4 cms. They pupate in their tunnel near the opening, with the head uppermost. The pupa is cylindrical, with a length of about 5 cms. The adult moths emerge in early summer.
photo: courtesy of Pam Jackson, Hesket, Victoria
drawing by by E.H. Zeck, listed as Charaga eximus,
in Walter W. Froggatt: Forest insects of Australia,
Sydney 1923, Frontispiece, fig. 3,
image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library,
digitized by NCSU Libraries.
The male adult moth has green forewings, with a series of white diagonal stripes across each one. The hindwings are a shiny pale grey colour. The abdomen is mauve where the wings cover it, but the end segments are green. He has a wingspan of about 5 cms.
The female adult moths differ from the males. The females are larger and have brown forewings which have variable green patches, and paler rusty-brown hindwings. They have a wingspan of about 7 cms.
The species occurs in:
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, pls. 2.10, 2.11, pp. 67, 147.
Walter W. Froggatt,
The Smaller Green Wood Moth,
Forest insects of Australia,
Sydney 1923, p. 47.
Moths of Victoria - Part 6,
Ghost Moths - HEPIALIDAE and Allies,
Entomological Society of Victoria, 2015, pp. 12-13, 14-15.
John William Lewin,
Natural History of Lepidopterous Insects of New South Wales,
London : T. Bensley (1805), p. 17, and Plate 16.
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. 38-39.
Harriet, Helena, and Alexander W. Scott,
Australian Lepidoptera and their Transformations,
Volume 1 (1864), pp. 5-6, Plate 2.
Thomas J. Simonsen,
Splendid Ghost Moths and their Allies,
A Revision of Australian Abantiades, Oncopera, Aenetus, Archaeoaenetus and Zelotypia (Hepialidae),
Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Volume 12,
CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, 2018.
(updated 8 December 2012, 17 June 2014, 2 January 2018, 31 January 2019, 8 November 2020)