Comana albibasis Walker, 1862
Lion's Mane Moth
(one synonym: Miresa humeralis Walker, 1865)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Comana albibasis
(Photo: courtesy of photographer Darren Jew)

These Caterpillars sting. The caterpillars of this species look as though they carry their own TV antennas. They have four large branched fleshy spikes protruding from the front and two from the rear, and a series of smaller ones along each side. These all sting. The sting has been described as "worse than 3 wasp stings". The caterpillars are brightly coloured greenish-yellow, except for the front pair of spikes which are purple, and a red dorsal stripe with a broad blue edging, and a blue band with red patches along each side.

Comana albibasis
(Photo: courtesy of Kell Nielsen, Gold Coast, Queensland)

The caterpillars have been found feeding on a wide variety of plants, including:

  • Date Palms ( Phoenix canariensis, ARECACEAE ),
  • Dogwood ( Jacksonia scoparia, FABACEAE ),
  • various Wattles ( Acacia, MIMOSACEAE ),
  • Bird of Paradise ( Strelitzia reginae, MUSACEAE ),
  • Roses ( Rosa odorata, ROSACEAE ),
  • Orange Trees ( Citrus sinensis, RUTACEAE ),
  • Whitewood ( Atalaya hemiglauca, SAPINDACEAE ), and
  • Kurrajong ( Brachychiton populneus, STERCULIACEAE ).

    Comana albibasis
    caterpillar underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Kell Nielsen, Gold Coast, Queensland)

    The caterpillars have reduced legs, and locomote using a slug-like movement of the underside of the body.

    Comana albibasis
    (Photo: courtesy of Kell Nielsen, Gold Coast, Queensland)

    The cocoon is formed on a leaf. It is spun out of silk in a small sphere, then covered in a liquid that sets like a tiny cricket ball.

    (Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland)

    The adult moths of this species have brown forewings, each with a white mark at the base of the costa. The hindwings are completely pale brown.

    (Photo: courtesy of David Rentz, Kuranda, Queensland)

    The head, thorax, and abdomen are densely covered in brown hair-like scales. The legs are covered in black and grey hair-like scales. The wingspan is about 3.5 cms.

    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    The species has been found in :

  • Queensland.

    (Photo: courtesy of Dianne Clarke, Mapleton, Queensland)

    Further reading :

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 104.

    Francis Walker,
    Characters of undescribed Lepidoptera in the collection of W. W. Sanders Esq.,
    Transactions of the Entomological Society of London,
    Series 3, Volume 1 (1862), p. 274.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths, CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 113.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 1 November 2010, 10 April 2024)