Eustixis sapotearum ( Swainson, 1851)
(formerly known as Physicampa sapotearum)
LACTURIDAE,   ZYGAENOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Lyn Ford, Dorrigo, New South Wales)

The Caterpillars of this species have built in balloons. There are two large white patches on each side of the body, and when the caterpillar is disturbed, these are inflated. It also then exudes a very sticky substance. Otherwise the animals are grey with two tubercles on the back of each segment.


(Photo: courtesy of Lyn Ford, Dorrigo, New South Wales)

These are yellow on most segments except in early instars they are red on the middle two segments. There are two red or yellow horns on the prothorax and on the last abdominal segment.


(Photo: courtesy of John Lahey, Brisbane, Queensland)

The caterpillars feed openly by day on plants in SAPOTACEAE including

  • Black Apple ( Planchonella australis ), and
  • Yellow Boxwood ( Planchonella pohlmaniana ).


    cocoon
    (Photo: courtesy of John Lahey, Brisbane, Queensland)

    They pupate in crevices of the bark of the food tree in stiff white cocoons.


    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Ian McMillan, Imbil, Queensland)

    The adult moth has red forewings with with dark veins, and with yellow markings along the costa, and at the wigtip and tornus. The hindwings are plain scarlet. The abdomen is also scarlet. The males are rather paler than the females. The wingspan is about 4 cms.


    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Dianne Clarke, Mapleton, Queensland)

    The species occurs in

  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.


    male
    (Specimen: courtesy of Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pls. 7.21, 24.14, 24,15, p. 298.

    Peter Hendry,
    At the Light Trap,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club
    Newsletter, Issue 48 (March 2008), pp. 9-11.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 100.

    William Swainson,
    Review: Australian Lepidoptera and their Transformations, by Harriet, Helena and A.W. Scott,
    Sydney Morning Herald, 30 August 1851, p. 2.


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    (updated 17 December 2011, 13 November 2016)