Pararguda nasuta (Lewin, 1805)
Wattle Snout Moth
(sometimes mistaken for Paraguda australasiae)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Pararguda nasuta
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

The eggs of this species are pale blue when laid, becoming white as they dry.

Pararguda nasuta
(Photo courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

This Caterpillar is a velvety green or brown, with variable dorsal markings. By day the caterpillar rests flat against the midrib of a leaf, or a twig of the foodplant. The hairs along the body disguise the legs, and the knob on the tail looks like a broken off wattle twig.

Pararguda nasuta
(Photo courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

If disturbed, the caterpillar curls the front part of the body revealing two black bands between the thoracic segments. The caterpillar feeds on various plants:

  • Wattles ( Acacia, MIMOSACEAE ),
  • Native Cherry ( Exocarpus cupressiformis, SANTALACEAE ), and
  • Monterey Pine ( Pinus radiata, PINACEAE ).

    Pararguda nasuta
    late instar
    (Photo courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

    The caterpillars grow to a length of about 6 cms. They often are brown in the last instar.

    Pararguda nasuta
    (Specimen: courtesy of Margaret Humphrey)

    The caterpillars pupate in a white cocoon between the leaves of the foodplant. The cocoon has a length of about 2 cms.

    Pararguda nasuta
    (Specimen: courtesy of Margaret Humphrey)

    The adults are brown, with a faint dark spot, two wavy dark lines, and a subterminal row of dots on each forewing, They also have a long pair of labial palps , which are held forward to look like a long nose.

    Pararguda nasuta
    (Specimen: courtesy of Margaret Humphrey)

    The males and females have differently shaped wings. The males have wings with straighter edges. The males also have more feathery antennae. There are always more males to be found at lights than females. The males have a wingspan of about 3 cms. The females have a wingspan of about 4 cms.

    Pararguda nasuta
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The species is found in eastern Australia, including:

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

    It is widespread in Victoria, where adults may be found thoughout the year.

    There is considerable variation amongst specimens of this species, so it is probably a species complex, and should be divided into two or more distinct species. A specimen originally thought to be this species was collected on Cook's voyage, and previously had been assumed to have been taken at Botany Bay. Later examination of the label showed it was taken in the north. That northern species is now called Pararguda australasiae.

    Pararguda nasuta
    (Photo courtesy of Lorraine Jenkins, Port Lincoln, South Australia)

    Further reading :

    David Carter,
    Butterflies and Moths,
    Collins Eyewitness Handbooks, Sydney 1992, p. 205.

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, p. 389.

    Pat and Mike Coupar,
    Flying Colours,
    New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 55.

    John William Lewin,
    Prodromus Entomology,
    Natural History of Lepidopterous Insects of New South Wales,
    London : T. Bensley (1805), p. 6, and Plate 5.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 1,
    Silk Moths and Allies - BOMBYCOIDEA
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2008, pp. 6-9.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 5.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 6 April 2013, 18 September 2013, 19 February 2015)