Genduara punctigera (Walker, 1855)
Spotted Clear Winged Snout Moth
(one synonym : Macrogyne personata Scott, 1868)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Genduara punctigera
(Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

This is a mottled grey-brown Caterpillar covered with flattened hairs, which are long at the front, back, and sides of the body. There are a pale yellow marks behind the head on the prothorax, and on abdominal segments five and eight. There are two red marks on the thorax which the Caterpillar displays when it is disturbed by lifting its thorax and bending its head under. It is solitary, and feeds on:

  • Native Cherry ( Exocarpos cupressiformis, SANTALACEAE ).

    By day, it rests rather conspicuously, flattened against the stem of its foodplant. It grows to a length of about 5 cms.

    When ready to pupate, it draws the twigs together of its food plant, and spins a white papery cocoon amongst the foliage.

    Genduara punctigera
    female adult moth
    (Photo: courtesy of Brian Cartwright, Adelaide Hills, South Australia)

    The male and female moths are very different.

    Genduara punctigera
    female adult moth
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The females have stout bodies with white hairs on the thorax and tail, and a pattern of three dark marks on the thorax, like a face. Their wings have a brown with blue-grey and white markings, and a span up to 5 cms.

    Genduara punctigera
    male adult moth
    (Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

    The bodies of the males are similar to the females, but the forewings are semi-transparent, with a wingspan up to 4 cms. They fly with very rapid wing beats, in contrast to the slower females.

    Genduara punctigera
    male adult moth
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The eggs are laid in an irregular cluster. They are brown and oblate, each with one large and one small pale-edged round spot, and a diameter of about 1mm.

    Genduara punctigera
    (Photo: courtesy of Laura Levens, Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria)

    The species occurs in the south-east quarter of Australia, including:

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

    Genduara punctigera
    courting couple: female on left, male on right
    (Photo: courtesy of Marc Newman, Ballandean, Queensland)

    Our photographs do not capture the beauty of this species, and it is possible that no photograph can do this. In the nineteenth century, Helena Scott painted pictures of this and other Australian species of caterpillars and moths which did better justice to her models. She called one species Macrogyne personata Scott, but we believe it to be Genduara punctigera. Anyone interested in painting caterpillars and moths is encouraged to study her work.

    Genduara punctigera
    female underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Laura Levens, Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria)

    Further reading :

    Pat and Mike Coupar,
    Flying Colours,
    New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 57.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 1,
    Silk Moths and Allies - BOMBYCOIDEA
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2008, pp. 14-15.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 101.

    Helena Scott,
    Historical drawings of moths and butterflies,
    Collections of the Australian Museum,
    Plate XLVI : Macrogyne personata.

    Francis Walker,
    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 4 (1855), p. 974.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 30 November 2011, 21 February 2015, 19 February 2016, 11 October 2020)