Red Gum Ghost Moth
(Photo: courtesy of Judy Ormond, Nathalia, Victoria)
The caterpillars of this species are white with a brown head and dark spiracles. The caterpillars are a favoured bait for fishing. They live in vertical tunnels in the ground, which they dig and cap with a hinged lid. The caterpillars feed on the roots of
The caterpillars ringbark the roots, and the plant responds by growing gall-like tissue on the underground root, upon which the caterpillars then feed.
The caterpillars pupate at the bottom of their tunnel. The pupa can have a length up to 8 cms. When metamorphosis is complete, the pupa squirms up to the top of its tunnel and pushes itself half out when the adult moth is about to emerge.
These adult moths are grey-brown with variable white flashes and other more complex markings on the forewings. The hindwings are brown, fading to pale brown at the margins. The males are usually smaller than the females, and have more prominent white markings. Both sexes of moths have unipectinate antennae. The wingspan of the male is up to 12 cms. The wingspan of the female is up to 17 cms.
The caterpillars, pupae, and adult moths were used as food by the people of the Wirrangu Nation in South Australia.
The species is found in :
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 17.4, p. 150.
Moths of Victoria - Part 6,
Ghost Moths - HEPIALIDAE and Allies,
Entomological Society of Victoria, 2015, pp. 22-23.
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. 36-37.
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, pp. 25-26, 45, 48, 51, 57, 59, 65-66,188, 212, 230, Plate 2: figs. A and B.
Norman B. Tindale,
Revision of the Australian Ghost Moths (Lepidoptera Homoneura, Family Hepialidae) ,
Records of the South Australian Museum,
Volume 4, Part 4 (1932), pp. 515-517, figs. 31-34.
(updated 24 May 2010, 28 November 2016, 31 March 2019, 30 March 2020, 10 April 2021)