Thosea penthima Turner, 1902
Billygoat Plum Stinging Caterpillar
(one synonym: Dasycomota pyrrhoea Lower, 1902)
LIMACODIDAE ,   ZYGAENOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

The Caterpillar of this species has a virulent sting. The caterpillar is round and flat, and is green and yellow. The body has rows of poisonous spines. The caterpillar has been found feeding on:

  • Billy Goat Plum ( Planchonia careya, LECYTHIDACEAE ), and
  • Gulf Plum ( Terminalia carpentariae, COMBRETACEAE ).

    The adult moth is brown, with a dark line across each forewing which bounds a faded area. The wingspan is about 2.5 cms.

    The species has been found in

  • Western Australia,
  • Northern Territory, and
  • Queensland.


    Further reading:

    Geoffrey K. Isbister and Peter I. Whelan,
    Envenomation by the billygoat plum stinging caterpillar (Thosea penthima),
    Medical Journal of Australia,
    Volume 173 part 11 (2000), pp. 654-655.

    A. Jefferis Turner,
    New Australian Lepidoptera,
    Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia,
    Volume 26 (1902), p. 206.


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    (updated 9 January 2006, 13 October 2013)