Don Herbison-Evans (
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)
This is a brown, hairy Caterpillar with two small red knobs on the back of each segment, and a black tuft of hairs on the back of first and last abdominal segments. The hairs on the other segments hang down camouflaging the prolegs. The prothorax is pink. The head is large and speckled in black and white.
It feeds on various species of She-Oak ( CASUARINACEAE ), including :
When disturbed, the Caterpillar lets go, and drops to the ground. It grows to a length of about 3 cms.
It pupates in a cocoon on the foodplant.
The male and female adult moths are very different. The females are stout and slow, with a wingspan of about 3 cms.
The males are smaller (wingspan about 2 cms.), have a more contrasting wing pattern, and fly faster.
The species occurs along the coast of eastern Australia, including:
The eggs are oval and white with a dark spot. They are laid in irregular open groups on leaves of a food tree.
Further reading :
Pat and Mike Coupar,
Flying Colours, New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 59.
Moths of Victoria: Vol 1: Bombycoidea,
Entomological Society of Victoria, 2008, pp. 6-9.
(updated 24 August 2012)