Microdes squamulata Guenée, 1857
Dark-grey Carpet
(one synonym : Oesymna stipataria Walker, 1869)
EUPITHECIINI,   LARENTIINAE,   GEOMETRIDAE,   GEOMETROIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Microdes squamulata
early instar
(Photo: courtesy of Steve Williams, Moths of Victoria: Part 3)

This caterpillar is initially green with some pale markings along the back and a pale brown head. The body has a corrugated look.

Microdes squamulata
(Photo: courtesy of David Akers, Won Wron, Victoria)

Later instars develop a pair of rusty-brown lines along the back, and single white-edged rusty-brown line along each side. The caterpillars are missing three pairs of prolegs, so walk in a looper fashion.

Microdes squamulata
late instar in defensive posture
(Photo: courtesy of Steve Williams, Moths of Victoria: Part 3)

When threatened: the caterpillars stand up on their last pairs of legs, and curl their head under the thorax. The caterpillar feeds on a variety of Wattles (MIMOSACEAE) including

  • Grey Mulga (Acacia brachybotrya),
  • Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii), and
  • Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha).

    Microdes squamulata
    (Photo: courtesy of Steve Williams, Moths of Victoria: Part 3)

    The caterpillar pupates after about four weeks in summer in Melbourne. The pupa initially is green with a pale abdomen. Later it turns brown.

    Microdes squamulata
    (Photo: courtesy of Donald Hobern, Aranda, Australian Capital Territory)

    The adult moth is grey or brown with light and dark wriggly lines including a few orange marks on the forewings. The hindwings are pale grey or brown, with a vague darker marginal band.

    Microdes squamulata
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Peter Marriott, Moths of Victoria: Part 3)

    Additionally the male has a brown elliptical patch on each hindwing. The forewings each have a convex costa at the base, and the hindwings are very rounded. The male moths have a wing span of about 1,7 cms. The female moths have a wing span of about 2 cms.

    Microdes squamulata
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Peter Marriott, Moths of Victoria: Part 3)

    The eggs are ellipsoidal and brown, and laid singly.

    Microdes squamulata
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Steve Williams, Moths of Victoria: Part 3)

    The species occurs in

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

    Microdes squamulata
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of John Bromilow, Ainslie, Australian Capital Territory)


    Further reading:

    Achille Guenée,
    Uranides et Phalénites,
    in Boisduval & Guenée:
    Histoire naturelle des insectes; spécies général des lépidoptères,
    Volume 9, Part 10 (1857), p. 298, No. 1387.

    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), p. 110.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria: Part 3,
    Waves & Carpets - GEOMETROIDEA (C)
    ,
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2011, pp. 30-31.


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    (updated 13 September 2013, 2 June 2018, 30 July 2020, 19 December 2021)