Spotted Clear Winged Snout Moth
(one synonym : Macrogyne personata Scott, 1868)
LASIOCAMPINAE, LASIOCAMPIDAE, BOMBYCOIDEA
(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:
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.
The male and female moths are very different.
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.
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.
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.
The species occurs in the south-east quarter of Australia, including:
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 G. punctigera. Anyone interested in painting caterpillars and moths is encouraged to study her work.
Further reading :
Pat and Mike Coupar,
New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 57.
Moths of Victoria - Part 1,
Silk Moths and Allies - BOMBYCOIDEA,
Entomological Society of Victoria, 2008, pp. 14-15.
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 101.
Historical drawings of moths and butterflies,
Collections of the Australian Museum,
Plate XLVI : Macrogyne personata.
Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
Part 4 (1855), p. 974.
(updated 30 November 2011, 21 February 2015, 19 February 2016)