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 is a 'U' shaped off-white mark behind the head on the prothorax, and white patches on abdominal segments five and eight. There are several orange warts on the back of each abdominal segment. There are two red transverse dashes on the thorax, which the caterpillar displays when it is disturbed, by lifting its thorax and bending its head under.

Genduara punctigera
close-up of head and thorax
(Photo: courtesy of David Akers, Won Wron, Victoria)

The caterpillar 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
    (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
    (Photo: courtesy of Cath Busby, Cook, Australian Capital Territory)

    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 most of Australia, including:

  • Western Australia.
  • Northern Territory
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania, and
  • South 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 moth showing underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Laura Levens, Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria)

    Genduara punctigera
    male adult moth showing underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, 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, 17 May 2023)